Adult education (2)

29

When I received the email that I had made the shortlist, I was in shock! How?!

Then the second round came and I was elated to find that I was one of the 15 East Africans chosen. Euphoria!
We went for a training session in Nairobi, to get to know how to use the system, interact with alumni and get ready to begin.
I was the youngest least qualified person in the room. Some people were doing their second or third Masters,others were speaking of PhDs; They worked in established institutions and here I was trying to explain the mothful that is “40 days over 40 Smiles Foundation.”
In the afternoon, one of the Professors who had flown in for orientation asked, “How many of you got permission from your bosses to pursue further education?” Hands went up.
He turned to me and asked why I hadn’t put up my hand..then added “I forgot, you are the boss!” Everyone laughed. I didn’t. Deep down I felt intimidated and undeserving.
It was the continuous joke from then on. I perfected my poker face.

One of the requirements for the scholarship had been to explain how you would develop your country after the degree and I had given an elaborate plan; my vision for 4040. It was all I had. It had to work.

Little did I know that getting in was the easy part.
We received our first major assignment and boom, another blow. I fell sick and doctors could not figure out how/why despite tests. I hated to be the new student asking for extra time but I had no choice. It was granted and I literally
The next assignment came with it’s challenges. I mistakenly used a phrase without crediting the author-plagiarism! I received a stern warning thereafter. My undergrad hadn’t prepared me even by 20% for this new system.
I continued struggling though. After year 1, I was convinced I would fail.
I said it to myself and anyone who asked.
Whenever results were about to come, my body went through pretty much everything but a stroke.
I knew if I had been paying my tuition I would quit but I kept telling myself this scholarship could have gone to anyone and I was privileged, how could I ruin this? I decided to hang in, albeit painfully.
The work load was crazy. I didn’t really have a break in my own life and there was no one who understood. My classmates were miles away, dealing with their own issues. The few times I tried to reach out didn’t yield much.

I had no clear time table because there was no physical class to go to. That meant, more often than not, everything else came before school.

I jumped in and out of depression. Some weeks I simply stayed in bed all day, cut off the world and then eventually willed myself back up again.
Trying to work in this state was futile which in turn frustrated me and left me feeling like a fraud, a failure completely unworthy.

Trying not to write books under the pretext of posts😞
3rd and last installment comes tomorrow.

T.I.R.E.D

27

Originally posted on  27 March

Today I got up in the morning and heard what sounded like a crack in my back. I immediately lay flat and waited.

I have had a long month so I mentally dismissed it as a result of the work load.
A couple of hours later H called me and shared some not-so-good news. I told her that phone call was my cue to get up and face the day. I got up. A few minutes into my morning routine, the first person I was meant to meet cancelled. I wasn’t sure whether to be mad or happy. I decided to take it as a sign. I would get up in the afternoon for my errands. Back to bed I went.
As if the universe read my mind, the skies opened generously shortly after this decision.
I covered my head to ‘sleep.’

 

I generally don’t sleep much. I can’t nap unless I have been drugged. I can however,close my eyes and pretend to nap.
It wasn’t always like this.

I am an active person and when I don’t have anything to do, I get restless. When I have too much to do, I am in my zone but doesn’t mean I don’t get anxious.

By the time an event comes, I have lived it in my dreams, awake,half-awake and asleep.

I realised that the only way I can truly rest is when I leave the city, better still when I am out of the country all together-preferably without a good connection-phone and internet.

This lack of rest eventually catches up. You can’t fool the mind or body for too long. When the fatigue sets in,certain systems begin to crash,slowly. Sometimes, it comes as a single blow.
Most of the time I can sense it. In most cases, I manage the symptoms as they arise; other times I keep going because I know; There is no one having sleepless nights about how to make it all work. I do my best knowing that if this fails, I will only have myself to blame.

The truth is, I thought by now, things would be easier. 5 years is a long time to hustle day and night. It is a long time to still be going through certain routines you thought would be long gone. It is a long time to always get so near and later realise how far you are. This doesn’t mean I do not value the wins. I truly do.

The truth is,it could take 5 more years, decades even to get to that place where I can comfortably sleep,take long vacations and still know that everything is under control.

Maybe it won’t even get easier at all and I will just get better at dealing.
What I want to share with you is that it is difficult, in an inexplicable way.
Blood, sweat and tears-that’s not an expression, it is REAL.
When ‘they’ say nothing worth having comes easy. It is true. Of course there will be some ‘easy’ wins along the way but overall it is not for the faint hearted.
This applies to starting anything really, a business, a relationship, a family.
However, some responsibilities consume you more than others.
True leadership is taxing. It is cold. It eats you up. It wears you out and tosses you out in the wilderness to fend for yourself.

What people want to see and share is the success story and I think that’s awesome;I just wish more people were truly honest about how they got there,what they went through, what they sacrificed;what they would do differently given the chance.

Sometimes it is so gruelling you want to quit and go to a new city and start over-
Many times you will even forget to eat, or remember but still find that food is tasteless because your mind is wandering constantly-
You will get so tired that you can’t rest and the exhaustion will seep into your emotional and spiritual life; it will affect your thoughts and productivity
Often you will be alone, so alone that you will hit rock bottom;you’ll cross the line to depression and even consider taking your own life-

Your loved ones will not always be there, they will not always understand,they will fall short of being enough. They might even be the cause of your pain from time to time-

Sometimes, you will be envious of others who seem to have it easy-
You will not bother to determine if they are just better actors-

During tough days you may consider dropping the dream to take the easy route
You will weigh your other options

You will receive a lot of crappy advice,some of it dispensed with a lot of love
You will encounter naysayers often
You will lose friends
You will face betrayal
You will be misunderstood
You will second guess and ‘tenth guess’ yourself
You will need to be your own cheerleader,more times than you can imagine
You may drown in self pity once in a while
It will probably not end well
You will cry
And cry some more
Even if you aren’t a ‘crier’-

You may find other ways to deal
Drugs
Alcohol
Binge eating
This will probably soothe some of the pain, mostly psychologically anyway
But your reality will still be waiting when you are done.

You might become hard
You will still be fragile.

You will need to feel EVERYTHING and allow yourself to.

Embrace ALL pain.
It is fuel for learning,for growing, for inspiration,even for healing, as ironic as it sounds.

“Every man dies but not every man truly lives”.
Your struggle,your pain all because you want to do more than just exist, you want to live.

Do that, severely.

Disappointment and hurting hearts

15

This is a ‘real time’ tale in the series.

Two years ago, I applied for the YALI fellowship hosted in Washington DC. This initiative is the brainchild of a man I greatly admire, President Barack Obama. It supports young African Leaders. *I think I am fairly young..and a leader, yes?* Moving on;
I made it to the interview stage and then didn’t make it.
Last year I applied for this year’s cohort. I thought I was ready this time, more experience, better application. Yes?
Uhm..Perhaps not.
I found out that I didn’t make it.
The email response basically says “You’re good but not good enough.”
It stung but I told myself that it wasn’t time..then I told myself that 5 years is a long time..then I decided it wasn’t for me and I shall move on, keep doing what I do.
We have a 5 year anniversary dinner in a little over a month. We have approached over 20 companies for sponsorship and we chose a pretty awesome, influential woman to be our Guest of Honour.
She stands for everything we believe in.
We wanted Michelle Obama but thought it’s best she enjoys this ‘chill time’ with her hubby first😉

Yesterday, I started my morning by calling 4 of the companies I spoke to about sponsorship. One person picked up and said they would not partner with us, the other made her line busy and 2 didn’t even pick up. I was devastated. I considered cancelling all the day’s plans..Instead, I wore some red lipstick and got up to face the world.

This morning as I was recovering from what sounds like an action movie scene, the murder of AIGP Kaweesi (RIP), I checked my mail.I am always hopeful that I will find good news when I log in.

Instead I found a letter from a representative of our preferred Guest of Honour, she will not make it.
Tears started streaming down my face at an uncontrollable rate. I had to sit and try to take it all in. We have courted her for a month or so and my faith was immense. We halted printing of invites so that she could confirm and then we distribute.
I prayed, hard; had dreams in which she featured, I brushed up on the language she speaks so I could ‘impress’ on D-day and in all our meetings, we spoke like she had already said yes.
I didn’t know how emotionally attached I was to it all until I received this email.

Now I have gone back to bed to mourn some more before actually starting the process again..and continuing to work because the world doesn’t stop..or wait.
Pain demands to be felt; so do change and time.

The recurring questions about these scenarios, include but are not limited to; “Aren’t we good enough?”
“Haven’t I done enough?”
“Where did we go wrong?”
“What more could I have done?”
“When will it be the right time?
I am more hurt than I thought I would be and quite 💔 to be honest.

 

 

Why am I sharing this?
Well, your worth can’t be determined by what people think or say; or how many things don’t go your way.
Often things can be a lot worse but of course we don’t want to hear that when we are hurting. Not even close. We just want things to be okay. We want to get what we hoped for, prayed for, worked for..and it doesn’t seem fair when we don’t.
Nonetheless, C’est la vie.
You rant..you *sniff* cry, *sniff,*
You binge eat, perhaps take a shot; talk to a loved one,take a walk, listen to music,nap; write a post like this, you do whatever it takes to help you deal then you dust yourself off and live to try another day.
Friday,5 May will come..and no matter who attends (or doesn’t) how much we raise for our causes (or don’t); we shall be celebrating how far we have come at that anniversary dinner.
We shall give our next 5 years to God and trust that HE shall finish that which HE started.🙏

Note: Originally written on March 17th and posted on facebook

This one is for YOU

I wrote this 4 years ago and recently discovered it when Gloria asked if I ever shared it on my blog.

I decided to post it here. May it remind someone, today that they are never alone.

 

This one is for the girl who can’t sleep at night because her father is coming late yet again with woman number five, six oops she lost count

It is for the single mother who raised her daughter but has only gotten insults and lies in return, tales she can’t recount-

This isn’t for the ‘perfect family’ that goes to Sunday brunch or spends their weekend in Zanzibar

It is for the ones who don’t know where their next meal will come from because daddy is always in the bar, mummy’s pennies hard to come by-

For the girl who lost her youth to chores and fending for her younger siblings when she would really like a day off, okay maybe that’s too much. How about an hour or two just for her?

 

Here is one for the man whose father abandoned him as a child and still wants nothing to do with him many years later –

The daughter who did not get to meet her parents, unsure if they are proud of her wherever they are

The son whose dad and mom left just before he achieved his dreams

 

Today isn’t about the curvy confident girl who walks with an aura of splendour

It is for the one who is uncomfortable with her sexuality

Lesbian, asexual, transexual-

 

That girl who often hears words like fat, plus size, overweight, weight loss, exercise, gym bla bla bla gosh, when does it all end? So, I love juicy chicken, sue me.

But ooh, that isn’t all; the ‘small’ girl isn’t safe either. She is skinny, she is dieting, and she must be anorexic. Do you ever get clothes that actually fit? they ask. You must be spending all your time on fashion magazines, they add. Have they ever heard of genes? I guess not-

 

This one is for that boy who was bullied throughout school and thought the world would be more sympathetic

But all he has got is cruelty and thoughts of suicide. Surely everyone would be happier without him

It is for that girl who lost her self-esteem as a child and is still waiting for it to somehow grow back. Mummy can you hear her? No, wrong selection, it is she that took it away in the first place.

It is for the boy who doesn’t belong

Who stands in the middle of a crowd and feels all alone

It is for the girl who wants to know God

But can’t take the first step

The one who tried to walk the path with Jesus

But had no one to hold her hand through it all

 

This one is for the wrongfully accused that still serve sentences

The individuals whose existence is questioned because of their resemblance- to this tribe, that terrorist group, no matter how unrelated-

It is for the virgin who was shunned by her partner

The repentant thief that was judged by an angry mob

The girl who was abandoned after her last abortion

Even if she did it to please the man she so dearly loved-

The mother who held her baby for the first time and smiled

Blocking thoughts of the father that fled-

The girl whose little angel didn’t make it to her first birthday

The boy who only hears stories of birthday cake

 

It is for the broken hearted man who swears to stay alone forever

Because the love of his life said she would never leave but sort of meant;

I will never leave you, Mark, James, Earl and pretty much every guy that comes my way

It is for all the smiles you put on another’s face

Even as you weep profusely thinking about your life-

 

This one is for the hidden truths

The silent cries

The secret lives

The unspoken pain

The broken families

The poker faces

This one is for you…not the ‘you’ that the world sees but the ‘you’ who battles every day;

The real Y.O.U

 

lonely

Google image

Farewell Selector-Angel

Dear Julie, everything has been a blur for the past few days. One minute Patra called me to ask for your cousin’s number to inform him you’d been in an accident and next thing I hear, is that you didn’t make it. How?
I can’t imagine the pain and shock of your friends who saw you last as you parted ways, certain you’d each be home in a few minutes. You left for your heavenly home instead.
We braved the day and went about 5 aside UG which was a few hours later. As you know there can be a lot of background drama. It was all there, it was frustrating but it paled in comparison to the pain of your absence. How could we accept that you wouldn’t come and we’d not have you to talk, sing,dance, laugh with us anymore?
We’d last spoken a few days before your departure. You wanted a host for snap chat 256 at our event.
I told you I couldn’t think of a better person than you. You’d definitely bring your charm and humour to it. You agreed, no questions asked because that’s just who you were. Are, Were? Arrggh?! I can’t believe this is in past tense!
Sadly, our last happy messages were followed by this message that will now always haunt me. It was a message informing me that the owner of the phone(you) had been involved in a terrible accident.
You were many things to different people, Julie but that you already know. How your heart managed to contain all of us, I do not know but I want to thank you for giving us the wonderful opportunity to know you. You were such a delight!
I can’t even remember when I met you because you fit right in and left people feeling like they’d known you their whole lives.
I am smiling now thinking of our conversations in which we became award winning music critics, comparing past albums, musicians’ talent and their growth as if it was our career. It was from this shared love of music, especially Ugandan music that I started to call you my selector. From the music we exchanged, to staying up chatting about the songs on SNMS as we both listened in, you always oozed life and humour. This was the most used emoticon when chatting with you.

whatsapp

 

Face to face, it is rib cracking laughter that replaced it.

Julie, you were not the life of the party. You were the party.
I know so many things have been said, written and many more are in people’s memories. You touched so many lives and even people who didn’t know you now have an inkling of your awesomeness. Wharragirl!

I wish everyone could share as much as they can so that we can keep seeing you everywhere we turn. Not that we are planning to forget you, that’s impossible but I think it’ll help us deal and walk towards the healing process. We know you wouldn’t want us to be sad and whiney. <P.s: Right now, we can’t help it>
Oh, I am grinning again, because of your fat jokes. Remember when I called you to grill you for being late to an event at Akiba yet you lived close by? You covered it up as always and left me laughing.I even needed a favour so that didn’t help matters. I’d messed my top and asked you to carry me one. Your silly self started explaining how your clothes would be 10 times my size. Sheep. I’d later ask you to give me the ‘worst’ weight remarks you’d ever heard because I wanted to write a piece about Ugandan’s obsession with weight ‘kaboozi’ whether one is ‘big’ or ‘small.’
My favourite was your colleague who said “You have a big stomach, is that all yours?” I was so mad on your behalf but you explained that you never let any of them get to you. That is who you were, forgiving with such a light heart, patient and true.

You always created ‘FOMO’ for our events, online and offline. You contributed financially and with man power when we needed it. You didn’t wait to be told. You showed up for the fun times as well as the ‘working’ ones and gave all of yourself in true Julie style. If we needed a boost, we’d start up a dancing competition and guess who was always willing to open the floor so others could join in? Only you.

 

J dance
I remember after croak and rhyme last year you told me you’d twisted your neck having fun and it was worth it.  How does that even happen? Again, only you.
After the fundraisers,you always asked if we’d made raised a considerable amount. You were quick to console or applaud and that meant everything. You made a big deal of all our achievements or appearances and just knew how to make a little person feel like a star.
I thanked you when I could, I really hope it sufficed and that you knew how much your presence and support meant to us.

J 1

Did you see all the people who came to bid you farewell? Now add those who couldn’t make it. You’re good with numbers, you can do that instantly, yes? They love you and they miss you. You did good in your 25 years, you did more than good. We couldn’t have had enough of you.
Of all the hundreds who showed up, all of us combined do not come close to the pain of your dear mama. Oh gosh,if only you could come back and give her a big hug.
You heard her speech, when she said you were her right hand? We all felt it, and her pain cut through my heart. She’d later fail to say much more as she wept for the loss of her beautiful daughter. Please make a plan with God to speak through her soul daily and comfort her. As your friends, we will also keep the fort here.  You are irreplaceable our Julie. She’ll need all the strength in the world and then some.
After we got back to Kampala last night, I got a boda boda home and took ‘our’ route. I spent the whole trip talking about you and the rider was very understanding. He rode slowing, listened and only interjected with words of comfort. We agreed that it was your time, no matter how difficult it is to accept.
It is agonizing to accept or understand but we know you and we figure the Lord must have a massive plan for you in heaven. You belong to him so his needs obviously come before ours. You’ll remain with us in all the things that remind us of you. You will remain in our hearts. When words fail, we shall laugh, or maybe cry but above all, we shall celebrate your life.
Last year as I did a piece titled “What if you weren’t afraid, ” you told me one of your greatest fears was ‘not living a fulfilled life.’ While we are devastated it had to end so soon, it was definitely fulfilled. In fact, you helped others live a fulfilled life as well and boy did you do it well!

Pain demands to be felt and we are certainly feeling it. You wouldn’t want this but we need to get closure then move on to celebrating you; sometimes it happens concurrently. Other times it takes longer.

You taught us many things and I hope that we can emulate you in the remaining time, before we meet again.

You’re too amazing to bottle up in few words but we want you to know anyway. You are an enigma, a firecracker, and now, an angel.

We love you Julie. We always will

J2

Soaring on angel wings

 

I have always considered motherhood to be an unparalleled gift, whether through adoption or biologically. No offence dads, you do a good job of raising children and can make or break them, but there’s something about a mother’s love which is surely significant and can somehow be felt whether or not you have yours with you.  My deep regard for motherhood was the reason I was over the moon when Jackie told me she was expecting her first child. I conveniently skipped the part about the complications she was facing so that I could first ululate and then return to that point at length.

I hadn’t seen Jackie in months and our communication was mainly over the phone. I constantly checked for updates, especially when I found out that she had a few issues with her pregnancy and she always calmed me down. My pleas to visit were not addressed and I figured she wanted to be alone. I could, after all relate to that feeling. I decided I would pray for her and wait for such a time when she was ready to receive visitors.

On a chilly Friday morning, I made the decision to check on her physically and hoped she would agree. I noticed that her messages that morning were vibrant, and filled with emoticons, something that had been absent in the past weeks. I took this as a good sign. We agreed that I would visit in the afternoon so I spent the rest of the day working on school assignments in preparation. Once I had finished, I flagged down a boda boda and told her I was on my way. She informed me that she was planning to go to hospital and I figured I’d tag along.

When I reached her home, I was welcomed by her smiling mommy who has aged so gracefully, it is scary. I told her as much. I suspect she is one of those people who downplays compliments because as I was gushing, I told her “You look very nice.” Her : You too. But can’t you just allow and leave me out, I thought 😛 I got to Jackie’s room and waited as she’d stepped into the bathroom. When she returned, she was wincing in pain and clutching her stomach stretching out for the bed. She lay down and we struggled to make conversation. I could see the agony in her eyes, it broke my heart. Her mum asked if I’d stay long as she needed to go to church and I responded in the affirmative. I had so many questions but could tell Jackie was in too much pain so I had to stop myself at intervals. Her pain was increasing and she was bleeding.  She kept asking me to leave so that I wouldn’t see her in that state. I mentally saved her slaps for when she would get better. We prayed and sat in silence occasionally. I really wanted to distract her but I was mostly helpless in the end. The plan was to go to the hospital but because she had been there the day before and received the diagnosis and medication from two different specialists, we hesitated in the hope that there would be a change. Paracetamol was the only accepted painkiller and it did not seem to bring any relief so we eventually decided to head to the hospital.

Her brother, Joseph, drove slowly, careful to avoid potholes and letting impatient drivers overtake as Jackie’s pain intensified with every bump. In the meantime, her Doctor was called and he confirmed he was at the hospital. Upon arrival, forms were filled and we waited as Jackie was the second patient the Doc would see. She felt the bleeding increase and we quickly ran to the bathroom. Now, this silly patient of mine started to dictate what I was allowed to do/not do and see/ not see. She would ask me to turn around or close my eyes *smh* “ I don’t want you to see things unless you promise to forget.”  It turned out, the bleeding was intense and the clots bigger than she’d experienced before.

Jackie finally saw the doctor as her sister, Daphne, Joseph and I waited. When she got out, she told us we were going to the ward. We were glad she was spending the night because at least then, she could be observed. As we reached the parking lot, I dared to ask what the doctor had said “My baby is…” She broke down into tears. I did not want to ask again for fear of the response but Daphne asked, and that dreaded thought was confirmed. Daphne and I both broke down immediately only for Jackie to ask “Why are the rest of you crying.” Sigh

“I never knew until that moment, how bad it would hurt to lose something you never really had.”

It was a quiet walk to the ward. What do you tell someone who has just lost her baby? I could not even begin to conceive the millions of thoughts in her head. Jackie needed to prep for the theatre and only one person was allowed to go with her. Daphne quickly declined saying she’d just cry throughout so I went in with her. I wasn’t any stronger but it had to be done. At this point, it was time to call close family and just ask them to come without specifics so that they wouldn’t receive the news over the phone. I kept trying not to think about Jackie’s heartache. The sheer shock of an ‘ordinary day’ ending like this was haunting my mind. Her heart was probably in a million little pieces as we sat and talked about the situation and everything else. Before long, her hubby, Jacob showed up and he said a prayer just as I walked out to give them privacy.

 

By the time Jackie got out of the theatre, there were no less than 10 members of either family gathered outside the hospital room, anxious to check on her. Her anaesthesia had worn off and she was smiling. Sigh. We all got into the room and this is the question I remember, “How are you?” Jackie responded “We are fine, it’s just Jacob and I now.” Ooh the heartbreak!

The rest of the evening was spent discussing food, politics, roads and other totally unrelated topics. There was even a debate over which crisps are better; whirlwind or happy crisps (These are made in Uganda, please support these guys if you haven’t..oh  and give me your reviews) Joseph and Daphne insisted happy crisps were better and we agreed to disagree. I digress.

As I left that night, I told Jackie I hoped she’d get some sleep but she said she wanted to stay up for as long as she could so that she could mourn. I totally understood that. I knew deep down the mourning would take a long while but believed she’d find joy and comfort along the way.

angel wings

What stood out for me through it all was the amount of support and love I could see and feel, just being in that room. Everyone in the family who called to check in or who was called, whether they had reached home or were stuck in traffic in the opposite direction- dropped what they were doing and showed up. I was humbled and deeply touched by their warmth. The day’s events had been shocking and miserable but I was glad to see this silver lining and know that Jackie would be taken care of and pull through, somehow.

 

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 for  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.

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Sincerely,

You.