It’s my birthday this week and so I’ll be writing a couple of posts to stop myself from becoming melancholy and locking myself in a darkened room with nothing but a sheet of brownies and a bottle of Kahlua.
Dear You (aka Me),
If I know you (and I do, I am you after all), I know that right now you’ll be sitting in A-level Economics and thinking “what in the name of arse is the actual point?” I’m here to tell you that there is no point; A-level Economics will do nothing for you but make you want to peel your eyelids clean off to get out of it so please go home tonight and tell your parents again that you want to take English Lit instead. Tell them you’ll even settle for Religious Education (guaranteed A!) and they might just listen.
I’m also here to tell you some other things about what you can expect in the next ten years so please untwist your lip, ditch the attitude and listen to me – I know you think you know best right now but, girl, you truly don’t.
First off, sweetheart, I want to tell you that it all comes good in the end. I know that right now your default setting is fraught and I also know that you spend more time than any teenager reasonably should pretending that the insensitive shit some of the people you know say to you is haha-all-good-and-we’re-just-playing-so-no-hurt-feelsies. I know that a lot of the time when you get home from school, you sag and sometimes you even cry and on the worst days, you feign sickness and hide under your duvet for the entire day. Please know that things won’t always be like this. You will find your voice and you will learn to shock and silence your detractors with your ability to wield words.
The people that surround you right now might seem infinite and invincible. They dominate your thoughts and colour your actions and it seems like you will always be bending to someone’s will or reacting to someone’s thoughtlessness or hiding from the next person’s particular brand of bullshit. Please know that these kids are most definitely not the be all and end all. Your current boyfriend, for instance, might be wonderful to look at but is actually a walking billboard for batshittery and award winning fuckery. Kick his ass to the kerb and be on your fabulous way.
Allow me to drop some knowledge on you, babygirl because I know that you have no idea that you are going to throw off this wallflower persona and become this outspoken, thunderbolt of a person with real opinions about important things but trust, you are. You will learn that Christianity isn’t as finite as it has been presented to you. You are going to step outside of that particular box and know that sometimes, things can be ambiguous and that is totally OK. You will learn that you shouldn’t subscribe to any belief out of fear and at the same time, your relationship with God and with religion is going to undergo a series of drastic changes – that’s OK too. Your faith will remain unshakeable but it will be completely yours.
You will learn that beauty is a complex and ephemeral thing, not reserved only for the thin and the white and the people who don’t wear glasses and have long, flowing, straight hair. Your body will go through the wars and there will be times you’ll feel so ugly it’ll drive you to tears but trust me when I say, you’ll also learn that your hips and your thighs and your stomach are part of you and they’re hot and you are a bonified badass babe. Your hair will grow and you will rock the hell out of it and in the future, there will be something called “hipsters” who think glasses are a fashion accessory; hard to believe that the thing you so loathe will be all the rage in years to come. You will learn that it is OK to be imperfect and that your scars – inside and out – have helped shape who you are today.
And I promise you that you will find the strength and courage to talk about what happened that night and you will be better for it. You have to stop thinking it was your fault, love. It was anything but and the people you speak with about this will reinforce that.
You will fall in love. Properly, I mean. You will compare the most important relationship of your life to date to those of the past and marvel at how paltry they were in comparison. You will have your heart broken, cry many tears, punch many pillows, drop all the f-bombs and flirt with wildly inappropriate men while you realise that you know exactly what you want and deserve (and it is a man that can spell and use apostrophes correctly). And you will stay up late talking to your confidante in Canada about the men who contact you online (she will Blingee a few of them and you will choke laughing.) You will learn that love is an amazing, beautiful, dangerous thing and that it is the greatest of rewards.
Phrases like “bitches be trippin’”, “mockery of a sham”, “Jesus be a koi pond” and “you ain’t about that life” will jostle for pole position in your vocabularic entourage with words like “mercurial”, “adroit” and “apropos.” And your love affair with language will deepen and become almost an obsession. You’ll pull your head out of chick lit and fall down the glorious wormhole that is literary fiction. You’ll devour books about your heritage and consume stories by a collection of amazing writers and you’ll meet more, undiscovered ones online and they’ll become your friends some of your best friends.
And you will write. You will always write.
I know you refer to them as the Keepers of the Gaol at the moment but your parents are going to become some of your best friends. No I am not shitting you. No, I have not been sniffing expired yoghurt. Yes I am dead serious. Love them. Hard. And tell them so. Appreciate what they have been through to get you to where you are today. Deny as much as you wish but their time is not infinite and so you must make the best of it.
I want you to know that it is fine to be vulnerable at times and that it is both brave and brilliant to love without reserve. I want you to understand that you don’t have to tolerate bullshit, that you are awesome because you are different and not despite being so; that you will find your people and they will love you without question. I want you to know that you do grow up but not so much that you become the type of adult that you always swore you wouldn’t be.
All the love in the world,
PS. One of the most important lessons you will learn is that you should never wear leggings as trousers. I can’t stress this enough, babe. Leggings as trousers are prohibited.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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