I have counted every year since your passing like a child counts the minutes to Christmas Day.
Somewhere in the back of my unconscious mind, still questioning why you had to leave so soon. Why you’d be absent at all the most important and sometimes painful moments in my life, like Prom, Valedictory, moving abroad, or graduation?
I feel like I didn’t even get a chance to know you. I barely remember your face. The touch of your skin. The music in your voice. The authenticity in your smile, the pureness of your soul….
There are so many things I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I want you to know about me.
I’m thirty today.
And I look a lot like you. Daddy says I even act a lot like you too.
I’ve tried hard to become the woman everyone says you were; a woman of class, distinguished, smart, caring and strong.
You don’t know this, but from high school all through University, I suffered from a negative self-image. Back in the late 90’s, before Nikki Minaj and Beyoncé made history, the ‘generous behind’ I inherited from you was my biggest burden. Big Tees and baggy jeans did little to save my fragile ego from the incisive remarks and insisting stares – yes, teenagers can be really cruel…. I wish you’d been a phone call away on those long nights I cried myself to sleep. I wish I’d learnt much sooner to carry myself with pride and celebrate the curl of my spine and the round of my hips….
You don’t know this, but I’ve constantly measured myself to you, wanting with every part of my being to outperform your achievements in just about everything: Top 10 in high school, student of the year in Varsity, Best performer at work, all in the hopes of making you and Daddy proud. I just wish you’d told me it was okay to lose a few battles, that second best is just as good as first and that in every failure there are lessons to be learnt….
I invested a big part of myself in certain relationships, convinced I’d get the same love and devotion in return. I trusted people I barely knew, who challenged my trust and inevitably broke my heart. I wish you’d told me people were hypocrites, that love actually hurts and that not all friendships last forever….
I foolishly believed I would conquer the world by 30, that I’d be a multi-millionaire, married with children and running some successful business. I wish you’d told me life was more about finding and conquering me, rather than conquering the world…..
You see mom, I’ve been through some of the toughest moments growing up, but I finally stopped trying to be perfect the moment I realized I could never conform to society’s ideals of beauty, happiness and success.
Now that I’m finally 30 I realize that I still don’t know everything there is to know about love, about life or becoming an adult, and that despite the experiences I’ve gone through, there are still many exciting times and challenges ahead.
Never have I felt more alive, surer of myself and my choices. I realize that my own company can be a real treat at times, that Friday nights don’t have to end at 3am on Monday morning and that letting go of the past is therapy close to none.
I understand now, that liking me is more important than being liked by everyone else.
At 30, I finally feel I know who I really am.
This is me, Fabulously and unapologetically 30 – I hope I made you proud.
Shoes (Corneille – Christian Louboutin)
All images are Copyright©
Photos credits by Nanamybrass
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