If you could give your 16 year old self a cheat sheet to life, would you? At the ripe ol’ age of bright and miserable, I’m not so sure that lessons from the past really serve up anything other than large coco’s on the face of my life.
From time to time, after a long spell of being OK, on the move and motivated I lose sight of something valuable. Happens to everyone, but when it happens to me I tend to retreat and instinctively try to go back to the things that I love, the advice I’ve received and the things that make me feel normal* again.
On one particular occasion, in the ever growing expanse of my multi-tab universe, I came across an article called ‘Writing to Remember Who You Are.’. After a council meeting with my subconscious during this period (which ended up going something like this) I tried out one of the suggested exercises. My inner Rafiki revised the ABC’s, courtesy of my week long funk which was spent stewing on the coco’s of missed opportunities and sheer cowardice. The above article and some phone calls, helped with a sort of realignment process. So without further ado, here’s the alphabetised letter I wrote to my 16 year old self entitled:
Back to Basics.
A is for Aleisha. This is your name and no matter how many times people misspell or mishear your pronunciation of it (which they will do) they will only get it right if you insist on correcting it. Or if they pay attention to your e-signature. One day they might just take you seriously but in this instance it starts with you. Me.
Broken things must be repaired and will cost a lot of money to fix. Invest in insurance. B is also for boundaries, your ‘NO’will get stronger.
Cuddles are necessary. C is also for currency (and value) which we are still trying to figure out.
Do all that’s possible to start driving and don’t get distracted or discouraged. These are your dangerous D’s.
Enjoy the moment. Even if it’s brief, hide it from the dangerous D’s.
Follow no one. Explore life as a free agent and relish the season(s), some people wish they were in your position and at one point you wish yourself out of a relationship to be this free.#NeverForget
Give yourself a break, get help or get over it-good things come in three’s.
Home is where you are comfortable and you get better at being comfortable anywhere, even by yourself so don’t worry so much about the place you will call home. By the looks of things you won’t be spending much time there anyway. It’s just a place to recharge.
Invest in your small daydreams, one at a time.
Janelle Monae, Emily King and this intro will provide the soundtracks to your recovery after most blips. Music is still everything.
Keep on moving don’t stop.
L.1 Learn to love, don’t assume that you know how to, but know that when we’re right we really are right. The heart wants what it wants and God will help us reject what’s likely to do damage to all parties involved.
L.2 Limits are your friend and always will be. Insomnia will end and the limits you later have on your roving imagination will help to create the right conditions for some of your better works. You are never too old to learn.
Men will come and go whether you want them to or not. You need not be told how to live without them, but learn how to live with them on the perimeters of your existence. They will continue to have an opinion even if it’s not solicited. What do you believe truth?
No one can love you the way you want to be loved but God. Be gracious with friends, family and everyone else. Anthony Hamilton sang it best ‘Every one needs a little love in their life.’
O is for omelette. You will learn to make it just like you learned to mix oils for body butters. It will take time and practice, like other things beginning with ‘O’.
P is for passionate, which you are –even when your experience or acknowledgement of this fluctuates. P is also for promises, it’s ironic that I would tell YOU not to make them if you can’t or wont keep them.
Q is for quarter life crisis. We will have one, but we may be able negate the effects if you just finish the alphabet and work on the three g’s.
Read! Not just a reference to your favourite scene with Leroy Johnson and Ms. Sherwood in Fame, but read to keep up with your studies, so you have some thing to say and write and because you loved being read to when you were small. Don’t allow stress to taint the eye-burning, lines blurring, elbow quivering cover to cover experience.
Sing. Sing out. Don’t compare and don’t stop. And share.
T is for time keeping. Nip bad habits in the butt now. T will also be for twist out but you’re not about that life yet.
U is for up-cycling. You will get better at this during hard times, though you should stay away from e-bay unless you’re selling.
V You, me and a few others know this one, see ‘G’ and act accordingly. V is also for verify. Always have an answer for your hope when others ask you about it and also because at times you may falter with understanding and expressing the truth. Use your love of history and historiography for good.
We are whole. Not disjointed forever or ungainly and unladylike like forever. You are a lady with and without curves, with and without weave; with and without realising it, with and without it being acknowledged and also when you are loud, when you are quiet and when the washing piles up. It happens.
X is for xenophobia. Don’t let this be the reason you don’t travel. The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and though at 24 you’re not down with that global we are the world movement, reaffirm this perspective and get in where you fit in, which is anywhere we pay good money to be.
You are Aleisha o
r Ama once I introduce myself to a Ghanian. Not quite Lisa, but just as animated when you’re good and ready to be.
Z is for Zebedee and Zachariah, names I never want to give my children. Z is also for Z’ssss which, like I previously mentioned, you will catch up on.
Ultimately all is not lost if you can’t remember who you are right now. There is hope for squashed banana’s, because we make banging banana bread and sweet banana fritters!
Tek’t’easy and enjoy your re-purposed bruised goodness.