22nd December 2017, three weeks of being in hospitals, with no clear indication of what was slowly killing me. The weight scale scared me, wouldn’t go beyond 45 kilos. Doctors tested one scary disease after another and all came back negative. Going back home, with my father supporting my weight, I had one prayer; “God Please, let me make it to 21, it’s only a week away.” Frankly I didn’t know I would come this far, at night, my father would come and call my name at random hours just to be sure I wasn’t gone, I would let out the breath I was holding the whole night, for fear of not knowing where I would wake up. The low moments were when everyone would hold me with pity in their eyes and ask me what was wrong.
29th December 2017, I came back from another routine of negative results, I was frail, my body was shaking, everything was painful. I begged to take a nap. On waking up, I heard hushed voices, my sister and her husband had planned a mini party for me. I cut that cake with so much joy because I had made it to 21. Twelve months later, by the Grace of God am turning 22. The journey has been long and shaky. I can’t remember exact dates, but whatever memories I made were worth it. I thank my family for the unending support and love. Without them, I do not know where I would be.
21 tested the strength and authenticity of most of my friendships. Shifts in dynamics and decisions I made brought some friends closer while others walked away. Which am grateful for, because, turning 22 is a year of many firsts, and it’s a journey I only want to make with real people. I am very insistent on honesty even when it hurts. Its much better than lies, because lies break trusts. If we are friends, and we can’t be honest with each other, then what good are we? When you are on a tilting stone that is likely to drop you in the ocean, or in dire need of emotional support from people, is when you’ll know if you have friends or bugs around you. Nothing sucks like being told “I really wanted to tell you, but…” by somebody you consider a friend. Real friends make it their responsibility to watch your six, be honest, and stick by you in your lowest moments. Those who are ashamed of you or lie to you are bugs that you need to pluck off.
At 21, I also realized that Spirituality is a taboo topic in this era of civilization. It takes courage to admit you are saved. People are ashamed to stand by their beliefs. We shun our beliefs to fit in, then go on our knees to repent when no one is watching. It’s a pity. I have to admit though, 21 has been a year of spiritual growth with a staggering graph which I hope to keep steady as I turn 22. Am keen on having a personal relationship with God because I have seen His faithfulness in my life. Also, being brought up in a religious home has helped shape my thoughts on religion. I can’t say I was forced into this, I have always wanted to have a spiritual purpose, well, probably 22 will give me that.
Someone asked me a very simple question that I couldn’t answer; “What is the purpose of all your hard work, what are you aiming at?” I realized I was no longer a baby and needed to start shaping my career. The fear of the unknown, makes us sit in our comfort zone, hoping that someone will spot us and take us to places we need to be. But this year I stood and fought my battles. One quote that drove me; “I don’t want to be in my 30’s searching for stability, that’s what my 20’s is for. Am trying to be 30, looking 20, thinking 50 and still keeping it 100.” Going after what I wanted used to be a challenge, but 2018 introduced me to tough women, like Ziana, who wouldn’t think twice about putting me in my place when I slacked on my responsibilities.
I have tried my best to invest myself in all fields that will shape my career. My first time in public speaking during debate competitions, has been an upward graph which finally saw me emerge the best female speaker and fourth best speaker in the Pan-African tournament. The road wasn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t over.
The biggest challenge I faced was when people keep on trying to compete with you instead of competing with themselves. Teamwork is easily hindered when you compete instead of complement each other. But the meaning of conflict of interest became very clear at this stage. Individual goals and team goals easily clash when you can’t align a clear goal that works for both the team as an individual One thing I promised myself is to never screw my teammates, because it would serve my purpose. That sucks!
What better way to conclude a year than with a happy love story? I think I finally met my match, the silent war between us keeps me trying to be a better person every day, perform exemplary well, make my parents proud and achieve all the goals I set for myself. It’s not easy to come across such characters, because for most men, a powerful woman is a threat, but the moment he sees you as a compliment, then he can uplift you in all you do without fear that you’ll surpass him someday. All I hope is that this time it lasts forever.
2018 has been a year of ups and downs. I lost friends, I gained family. I shed tears, I lost my soul, I lost my esteem, for a moment I thought I lost my soul. But slowly I rose into a better person, a queen who wore her crown proud. I got hurt over and over, I learnt to forgive. Lies and deceit were common, but through it all, all memories are now life lessons. I can say they made me the non-retreating woman I am today.
Hey 22, as you come in, please be kind me. I don’t know what lays ahead, I don’t know what stumbling blocks I will meet, but I believe I have begun a battle that I do not intend to lose.