When i look at this picture i see a girl at ease, with a smile so bright, so free spirited and so relaxed and carefree. I really don’t know what must have been going on in her mind or the challenges she must have been facing at the time of the picture but all i can see now is a girl that is enjoying the little and simple things she loves doing and is obviously happy about it. So what do you see?
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Last night by ten i closed the store and locked the gate. Afterwards i turned to go back inside when i decided to just walk round the compound. With my hands in my knicker pocket i walked slowly. When i reached where the cars were packed my legs stopped and my body followed. I knew why; it was because my mind was no longer in motion. i was looking hard at the blue Toyota jeep packed outside. It was not the jeep i was focused on, it was the car bonnet. I was not just looking at the bonnet but i was remembering the moment i spent doing God knows what on it. As i recalled every moment a lone tear fell from my eyes…
I remembered the girl…
I remembered the girl in the picture…
I couldn’t forget how bright and silly she could be. Her favorite place was sitting on the bonnet of the car on a dark chilly night. She loved sitting there holding a paper juice and savouring its sweet taste. She loved lying there; resting her head on the glass and counting the stars with her fingers. She loved giggling at the moon when ever she remembered the African night story of a grandma who lived in the moon and always carried a log of firewood on her head. She was a girl who called nature her sister, called every bird in the air her brother and called every flower her friend. She was a girl who loved taking a long walk on a lonely path and enjoyed every moment. Sometimes she took the weekend in search of other straight long path roads she hadn’t yet explored. She was a girl who looked at every mannequin she saw and gave them sweet names to identify them and when she sees them the next morning she would call them by their names, and when they didn’t answer, she would laugh so hard, remembering the fact that mannequin’s couldn’t talk.
What happened to her? Where had she gone to? How did i lose her? I asked myself as i slowly leaned by the side of the car door. I missed the girl in me. I couldn’t remember when last i really relaxed and did those silly, fun things that were a part of me. Now it was just reading, writing and watching movies which i loved a lot, but those silly, awkward and weird things were the things that made my eyes so full of life, those were the things that made my smile wide and big like the deep blue sea.
I couldn’t recognize myself. It was like that part of me never even existed but deep inside i knew it did. It was just that something took over and clouded it.
Thinking hard i knew what overshadowed that personality. It was the Hustle.
The hustle is hard and we tend to lose ourselves along the way.
At a time when Nigeria is in recession, things were scarce and hard and my responsibilities increased. I work ten hours a day for six days a week and on Sundays, after church and tons of meetings, chores and errands all i want to do is jump on the bed and take a nap at the end of each day. The little time i had in between was for reading few pages of a book and writing along side. I had no time of my own. For me it was time and increased responsibilities. I had no time to give my self which made me pay less attention to the things i love doing and in turn made me lose a part of myself i never wanted to lose in the first place.
For Grace an acquittance of mine, it was family problems. When i discussed with her i saw the bitterness in her voice and the dreams she kept hidden.
She said ” Every time i wake up instead of waking up to appreciating a beautiful sun kissed morning, i wake up to a call of gregarious expectation and need”.
Every time they asked for something it took a part of her away. Every time they needed something she lost something of her own. Her hard work and hustle never benefitted her. She never got to enjoy it. It was always for her brothers, sisters and parents. It was a sacrifice she had always done for a long time and have kept doing till date. It stole the excitement in her life. She was always indoors after work, hardly socialized and hardly did anything for herself. Grace said it’s been a decade since she ever did what she loved doing or did any of the silly playful activities she did as a child and wanted to continue doing.
Its funny how one day you are the person you’ve always wanted to be and the next day you find that you’ve been broken into bits and pieces and a big part of you is missing.
One day your life is whole and the next day a problem presents itself before you and all your sweat, and tears is focused on eradicating that problem or challenge, that you lose your self in the process.
I always used to pride in the fact that i knew how to keep the balance. This picture is a reality check that i hadn’t kept the balance in a long time.
I want to work, hustle, keep my family, handle my responsibilities, enjoy my relationships, read, write, play, have fun, play and play again. All at once. Tied together in a scarlet thread and held bound together as one.
Yesterday night i made a mental note to bring back that girl in the picture. My life is incomplete without that part of me.
What have you lost that part of your self to? Can you maintain the balance in your life? Or are you struggling with the same things? Have you found the balance? And what was that thing that made you lose that smile and the free spirited part of you?
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