A letter to my teenage self

Last week I got two blasts from the past. I was invited to give a talk to S.3 students at the school where I studied and completed my ‘O’ level. A few days later, a friend sent me a letter I had written to her during my ‘A’ level studies. The former reminded me where I came from, the latter showed me how glad I was to be who I am today.

I thought I should write a letter to the girl that I was, because…well, she didn’t have much of me then.

Dear me, isn’t it such a great time to be young?
Look around you. Do you see how blessed you are? You might not have everything you want but you certainly have everything you need.
Those Visiting days when some of your friends stay in class like it’s just another day, you move about anticipating the arrival of at least one representative from your family. They do not have that. I know you don’t fully comprehend it now but I have noticed that you empathize with those that lack, do not stop.

You have been picked on for the way you look, by tribalists and other judgemental people who think small= helpless. It will probably not stop soon and it isn’t like you are going to going to transform overnight. Embrace it. When you can, politely engage those often ignorant people that offend you. However, when in doubt, always choose silence. It can be a weapon in itself. Like most things, time might not necessarily heal those wound, but it does prepare you better, for the next time.

You will be undermined even when you are older. Try not to be offended. Laugh. Try to laugh each time you’re faced with conundrums from myopic people.
Laughter will take you through some seemingly unbearable situations. As difficult as it may seem, look for any angle of humour in the darkest of moments. Sometimes laughter is all you’ll have.
Oh darling, I have seen how you vex yourself trying to make everyone happy. Stop.
Those who like you will continue even when you’re dressed in rugs and those that do not, well, they’ll find fault in everything you do.
The sad reality is that there’s only about a handful of people who truly care about you. Focus on those. Everything that you do should be with reason, may that reason never be to compromise on your integrity or seek favour.
Your folks are great people, you should be thankful to have them alive, caring for you the way they do. Go out of your way to make them proud but don’t lose sight of what you truly want in the process. When they see you chasing your dream(s), they will respect you. Whether or not they agree is another thing all together. Honour them but allow yourself to be you.

Try to be comfortable with who you are because you are the one person you guaranteed you’ll spend your life with.There’s always going to be someone better than you. I know that when you compare yourself to others, you feel inadequate. That’s okay, it happens sometimes. Do not let that feeling rule you. If you must keep it, use it to build a better version of yourself. Did you hear, I said of ‘yourself’ not anyone else.
Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them. I kid. You’ve met your fair share of spineless boys, I assure you that many more await you in the future. Thankfully, you’ve grown up with kind, respectable and all round amazing male influences in your life. That should tell you that there are others like them out there.
Do.not.settle. You’re probably too young to be hearing this but then again, you’re probably not. Many of the little injustices we that consume us begin as ignored hints of pain swept under the rug. We shall talk more about this when you exit these teenage years.
You think those migraines are the worst form of pain you have felt? I hate to tell you, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.’ However, I have some good News. Your high threshold for pain will be a huge plus in the coming years. You remember that time when that teacher whose name you’ve conveniently forgotten beat you up so bad you thought you were going to die? Remember how he maliciously caned you and said he wouldn’t stop till you cried, and you inwardly held all your tears with everything you had because you weren’t going to let him ‘win?’ Well, it seems that was good practice for the life ahead. You did not cry then. The more aches life gives you, the tougher your skin becomes. Keep being strong, sometimes it is all you will have. On emotional pain however, do not attempt to control it. Let your fears and tears be. I only ask that you determine what/who can get away with hurting you. They berra be worth it!

You are young and your dreams change every other day. You like to see the best in people,even when you have been disappointed.
That belief is one of your greatest strengths and weaknesses but I will not advise you on that. Your intuition will guide you,mostly. Need I add? Keep listening to that inner voice. It’ll help you through some pretty tough mazes.

Follow that which makes your heart smile, dare to be wrong, to be alone, to be different.

You are not the coolest girl or the brightest, your outfits can be pretty ancient and there’s no real talent to point at when anyone is describing you.
You argue more than you should and do not always listen..

Despite all this, you have managed to forge meaningful friendships and keep a good head on (most of the time)
You don’t spend much time in the school canteen because you’re always saving forย  God knows what. I remember that Christmas circa 2003 when you bought gifts for the entire family with about 30,000 you saved throughout the year. Keep the spirit of giving and use any excuse to celebrate, life gets too complicated sometimes. You’ll need the memories.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, that saving culture will help you out when you make some crazy decisions in the future, like say quitting your job with no financial plan, or any plan for that matter.

Above all, trust God. Believe in him, glorify his name.
Do not wait for the world’s approval on anything. It is your life. Live it.

Love more than you should, forgive even when it hurts. Dance. With or without the music, just dance.
No matter how much you achieve, remain humble and constantly remind yourself of where you have come from, who was there, who left and why you do what you do.
God will take care of the rest. I know this, because…I am you.

letter

Sincerely,

You.

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