Truth is, I was considering skipping writing a post this week. Week 2 and I am already out of ideas. Not good enough. I don’t miss my diary just yet but amidst my seemingly never ending writers and artists block, I might need y’alls prayers to get through this.
Luckily, the combination of a very sweet message from my old school-mate and the hour of midnight worked their magic and I am here to assure my (probably non-existent) readers that you (yes you) are doing better than you think.
Bear with me.
Now it’s common knowledge that we human beings judge ourselves harsher than we should. Rewind back to the beginning of last year, I’d just returned from holiday where I’d gained a couple un-needed kilograms, had recently lost my best friends, had just broken up with a boy (nothing sentimental, but still), had my IGCSE exams coming up in a few months but felt far from prepared, and was wholly truly in every sense of the word; depressed.
I started wearing makeup to feel confident, and in return got comments like ‘she’s gotten so fat’ and ‘she looks like a monkey’. I tried flirting, but does that ever work? (seriously though, am I just doing it wrong?). I joined boarding school because I thought it would help me get my life into a studious routine but the only thing I got into was trouble. Two different people I’d just met asked me why I was so sad all the time, and I genuinely didn’t have an answer. As I did my exams, I thought about how lucky I’d be to get a D.
Don’t get me wrong, there were fun moments in between and I was the same superstar I still am but my life was a hot mess and it continued to be until I finally had to leave the school. But on one of my last days, as dread weighed me down while I hurriedly shuffled my feet to my exam, a yr.9 girl I barely ever interacted with stopped me and handed me a letter with a beautiful smile over her face. Like proper handwritten, decorated, packaged in an envelope addressed ‘To Aidah’ letter. I was a little confused because she’d already invited me to her birthday and I couldn’t imagine why she’d write me a letter. Still, I smiled, said my thanks, and trudged on.
When I got home, I opened it and (paraphrasing here), it was a letter telling me how beautiful and awesome she thought I was, and how ever since her first day, she’d always wanted to be just like me. She also said she’d miss me and she loves me. I wish I still had that letter so I could insert it here but the first time I read it, tears came to my eyes. I read it again, and still the gratefulness didn’t kick in just yet because I was utterly confused.
Now, with the gift of hindsight, I’m able to see the bright side of my life at the time. I had my best friend and other good friends. I was fortunate enough to be in boarding school. And I ended up passing my exams quite well. But at the time, I had just gotten into big trouble multiple times. I thought I was well on the path to failure. My self esteem/confidence was at a solid 0. My best friend was moving away. I’d more or less lost the will to live.
But somehow, this girl didn’t see all that. She was able to look at my art work and feel inspired. She saw my pretend swagger in the hallways and was wowed. I laughed and she saw a happy human. I guess she was also impressed by my amateur eyeliner skills.
When I read her letter a third time, I too was able to see this side of myself instead of the negative that had blinded me. I felt strong and good enough to face what came next. The girl she was talking about was actually me! I was doing better than I thought.
Yesterday, I got a message from a different yr.8 girl from the same school. Again, this was someone I’d said two or three words to and she was asking me how I’m so perfect at art and photography, telling me I was her role model and still am, and that she admires my hard work.
And I was like
I also felt inspired and grateful. I didn’t think she’d acknowledged my existence before, and that was definitely the first time I have heard the words “hard work” in reference to me.
Now I don’t mean to brag or undermine any other positive response I have received but this is a reminder to myself that if I was actually able to inspire people in my hot mess state, then I can’t be doing too bad now can I?
So the next time I see a C on my report card, or feel like I am truly alone, or get left on seen, I can assure myself that actually, girl, you’re doing better than you think.
And this is a reminder to you too. There’s people that look at you, people you don’t know about, and they feel inspired. Strangers pass you by on the street and acknowledge how good looking you are. Someone wishes they could have your life, your courage, your dedication. You are doing better than you think.
Here’s to hoping I get another ray of inspiration next week or else I’ll have to resort to my backup posts I wrote a while ago, which I don’t quite feel like I’m ready to share.
SONG OF THE WEEK: Shout out to the music video for Unforgettable by French Montana feat. Swae Lee, shot in Kampala.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There are no expectations to meet. There are no requirements. You don’t have to know anything. You don’t have to figure it out.” – Aidah Kiirya 😉
Big thumbs up to you for reading. You are the real MVP.