I recently had a ten-day break from work and during which I had the time to do quite a few things, namely spring cleaning. I can sometimes be a hoarder especially when it comes to items of sentimental value, so I wanted to make sure that the things I keep were still relevant to my life. As I began going through a box of papers and notebooks, I came across a few letters, cards and photographs which brought back very special memories. However, one piece of paper touched me the most. You see, writing is not just a job or a passion to me; writing is a way of life and a means I have always used to express my emotions and to deal with tough situations. I have a habit or writing things down with a pen and paper every time I am going through something. The piece of paper I found was entitled ‘’Random Event 25.08.2011’’ and had obviously been written by me on that day. I muted my television and read what was written out loud. I would like to share this very private letter to myself with you because I believe that there is a message behind it that many of you can benefit from. Before I go any further, here is what I found written down by a younger me on that piece of paper:
‘’Patiently waiting to be called inside, I feel the breeze going through my long black braids. There is only one poster on the wall that I can contemplate so I stand there reading the same five sentences over and over, pretending to be interested. Suddenly I see my reflection through the glass door and I feel insecure; my clothes look old, my skin is oily and my shoes are dirty and unattractive. I feel a sudden pain within my heart, longing to be more presentable, but then I keep my head up high and carry on reading the five sentences on the poster. I look at my watch and realize that I am still twenty minutes early so I sit under a tree and pretend to be occupied. My hands become sweaty and my cheap perfume wears out. My self-confidence is still alive but I’m aware of the fact that I’m different and less-privileged. I watch the birds fly among the tall trees and I begin to envy them for no one judges them for what they look like. I suddenly hear cars driving into the parking lot and I think about the way I got to that destination: by foot with a small pair of shoes on and blistered feet. Deep inside I recognize and know that I am truly talented and intelligent despite my outside appearance yet some people still don’t take me seriously. I am finally ready to show them what I’m capable of and to prove their judgments wrong. I walk into the classroom and realize that all the eyes are on me; my eyebrows are too thick, my lips are dry, my gums are black, my shoes are dusty and my fingernails don’t know the meaning of a manicure. I smile and greet everybody and I take a seat, praying to God deep inside my heart. The tension builds up inside of me and I picture my mother’s face…’’
After reading this deeply sad letter I had written to myself back in 2011, I shed a tear or two and struggled to figure out what had happened on that probably cold August day. I still have no idea what was the occasion since a lot has happened since 2011; nevertheless, this short passage went straight to my heart.
As some of you who know me personally may know, I have struggled with self-esteem issues from a very young age and it was all accentuated after my parents died and I literally had no money to take care of myself. The bit of money I earned here and there was used to buy basic food and to keep a roof above my head for as long as I possibly could. Whenever I went to job interviews, conferences or other social gatherings, my self-esteem would shrink even further as I looked at all the girls I had once grew up with and how they were groomed and well-dressed. It was never just about the material aspect of things, but it was more about the feeling of a gaping hole inside of me that I felt could only be filled by the presence of my deceased parents. I was only 19 in 2011 and I longed nothing more than to be a ‘’normal’’ girl like my old friends seemed to be. I didn’t want to be struggling to put food on the table of a child-headed home. I didn’t want to be fighting to find a job while my former childhood friends went to university during the week and saw their families on the weekends. I just wanted to be a ‘’nineteen year old teenager’’ instead of the ‘’forty year old teenager’’ that life had forced me to become. Life had aged my soul and my body and it killed me.
As I read this letter to myself, I realized how far I have come. I am no longer that insecure and sad nineteen year old, but I am now a happy woman with a beautiful life to look forward to and a amazing story to tell the world. God has been so faithful and good to me and reading what I read a few days ago makes me realize how blessed I really am to have come from nothing to who I am today and to who I will be tomorrow.
I would like to conclude by encouraging anybody out there who is going through tough times. Remember that you are never alone and that as long as you have a beating heart, nothing is impossible!!!! Believe in yourself and cherish what you do have. Never give up hope and follow your dreams!!!!