This day 22 years ago, you were getting ready to make entry into this beautiful world through the body of a young, frail, broken, grieving, confused and devastated 21-year-old young woman. I remember vividly how I wanted to leave, desperately, but I did not. Now look how far we have come? It is right to say I now understand my mother’s anxiety and desire to keep me close to her and dependent all the time, in the eyes of our parents, we never grow up, we are never old enough, period. It is incredible to think you are a grown young woman now, hence you must learn to find your place and role in the world. And for this, I do hope you will find some wisdom and comfort in the words I shall be sharing with you today.
Firstly, I am sorry that you are spending another birthday without me Baby, but I need you to understand that this is something I have no control over. Last year, you complained about spending another birthday without me, it is happening again this year. I would love nothing more than to spend this day with you, and many others; share with you many things I have learnt in my life journey. We may get to spend a birthday together someday, and we may not, I do not know. But if we do, I want you to remember to make the best of it. If we do not, I want you to remember the birthdays we spent together, and all the things we did and did not do. I want you to remember the times we shared and the memories we made. I want you to remember that, even though I am not there with you in person, my love will always be with you, just as your fathers because true love cannot be seen nor touched; it can only be felt in the heart. All those years I was raising you and your siblings, deep inside I was in pieces and falling apart but keeping a brave face and trying to keep strong for you. Now it is time I face my pains and nurse them to heal, because without healing, there is no growth. without growth, there is no purpose. Besides, unless I travel this route, how can I advise and help you find your own healing when you need to; trust me chances are that you will. I want you to remember that I gave the best of my life, and time to you and your siblings, now I must pick up the pieces, fix what is left of those fragments and find meaning. Hence, I cannot be with you now.
I know sometimes you feel lost, confused, and anxious even without reason, I want to tell you that these feelings are normal and a part of the processes and what makes you human. You must therefore develop the ability to understand them and find the best way to deal with them without hurting yourself or others. It is easy to get lost in social standards, boxes, hypes, circles, peer pressure and groups, but you must remember to stay true to yourself because
You are enough not because you are my child, or your father’s child, but because you are YOU.
You must never doubt yourself or your abilities to achieve anything you set your mind to. The society you are born in is one which has little or no opportunity for growth especially for the girl child, you must find them yourself. And believe me there are many, you just need to search, and you shall find them. You must learn to never seek validation out of yourself, whatever validation you require to navigate through life is inside you.
You must understand that life will knock you down, many times over because it was never meant to suit or serve you, therefore it will treat you the way it deems fit. You just need to develop the skills and abilities to navigate whatever circumstances it throws at you because you were created to experience life, not avoid it. While experiencing life, you must understand the value of every circumstance and situation for each one comes with a lesson. You just need to develop the ability to focus on the lessons, and not the pain or the pleasure. When life kicks you down a hundred times, rise a hundred and one times because the difference between winners and losers is that losers give up, but winners never do. Therefore, if you want to win, you must develop the ability to keep getting up as many times as you have fallen.
You must understand what you want and stick with it. Your society will tell you that marriage does not hinder education, but I must tell you that is not true. As the Hausa language adage says, ‘ba’a gudu ana susan duwawu’. You cannot add value to the foundation laying block of the society without finding what value you have deep inside. Getting an education enables you to discover and understand that value, and finding your value begins with focusing on yourself. The best of everything begins with self, Love, peace, happiness, joy, wealth, contentment and even forgiveness. You must learn to love yourself first before you love anyone else, trust yourself before you trust anyone else, validate yourself before you validate anyone else, appreciate yourself before you appreciate anyone else, honor yourself before you honor anyone else, and most importantly, forgive yourself before you forgive anyone else; for what is exhibited outside reflects what is inside. You cannot be at peace with anyone if you are at war within yourself.
There is a lot I would live to share with you today, but this space is not large enough to accommodate it. Therefore, I shall just leave you with this; whatever you do, you must never allow yourself to be ignorant. Whatever you do, make sure that
You READ, because knowledge and education are the only true empowerment.
Happy Birthday my darling.
Love you always,
This article was first published on http://www.blueprint.ng and https://medium.com/@mlyconsults/letter-to-my-daughter-22-f7144c46bdc7