Once upon a time I was an uptight person. Rigid. Purely black and white. If you knew me this year and came next year, you would find the exact same person you left, just an year older. I loved routine. I’ve always loved plans. I stuck to the ones I made. My decisions were final. Spontaneity was unheard of in me.
And then I went through a healing journey. Still going through it to date. It entailed stopping right there on the tracks and asking myself, who am I? What is my life? What do I feel about myself, but most importantly, why do I behave the way I do and believe in the things I believe in? Like for example, I hated marriage, there was a 99.9% that I wasn’t going to get married. For the longest time ever I simply thought the reason for that was ‘I just don’t want to’. Until I opened up my past and realised that decision was the end product of the wounds in my heart.
It was painful. Finding myself that is. I cried for the first time after a decade and a half. I broke. Going back to my past and reliving it hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt. Heartaches are more painful than physical pain. I was vulnerable. I felt like just stopping in the middle of it, but God doesn’t start journeys He doesn’t finish. It was hard. Extremely hard. But I made it through. And there begun my journey into finding myself.
After that beginning began, I intentionally decided to seek myself out. To know me. What does she like? What drives her crazy? What makes her angry? Who is she? What kind of a person is she? What’s her personality? What makes her cry? What does she enjoy doing? What can you get her as a gift?
The things I previously thought I liked; some disappeared, while others got more defined. Like travelling for example, I realised that I love doing adrenaline-filled activities and that I would rather stay in a village somewhere in Malawi than in a 5 star Hotel. I loved writing, but this time round I discovered that I can barely write at someone else’s rules or directions. I simply write for myself. And on and on the discoveries went on.
But the most beautiful thing that came out of it, something I did not anticipate or even imagine, was that I fell in love with myself. The person I discovered inside myself was the most beautiful soul I had ever encountered. I realised that this time round, I would choose my authentic self over anyone in the world. This time I did not love myself because we are supposed to, but because I chose to. That I love myself became a decision I made out of logic, not feelings or emotions. Not because feelings or emotions are unimportant but they are not permanent. That the only other being I would put ahead of myself and what I wanted was God. I became my number 1 support system. I chose me. And that was the best thing that ever happened to me.
It paved way to an enjoyable life. My uptight self didn’t enjoy herself. But was I to go back to that time in my life, I would be that rigid person again. Because given depression and the baggage I was carrying around , I needed a fixed way of living to survive a day. That me back then was necessary for the kind of brokenness that I was. My heart and mind and soul were so lost that I needed some sort of order in the external life. Its what kept me going. So I wouldn’t demean the me I was back then.
Except that now, I’m changing. Like forever changing. I’ve realised that I am so many things. The me I am now will be different from the one you meet next year. Some things will be similar while others will have been discarded. Every day I strive to make my life better. I’ll only be this young once. So I make decisions that are right according to me at the moment. I trust myself more.
Only problem is, people love definitions. They would like to know you as being x, y and z. So they’ll act surprised and shocked if they ever find you as a,b and c. Like you’ve betrayed them somehow. Its like you were supposed to remain what they knew.
The reactions I got this past week made me think. Not about myself, but how we perceive things. I’ve never applied make up in my life before last week. Reason being? I had no particular reason. Yes, there actually things I don’t do simply because I don’t. But people interpret that as , you not liking/approving of those things. So last week we were idling around with my cousin. Rather, I’m the idle one here (he he). So we decided to apply Mercy make up. None of us knew what to expect.
But the me that got out of that experiment looked different. Very different but Good. I liked her. And so we’ve been playing around with make up on me after that.
The reactions I was telling you about? Half of my friends were pleasantly surprised. Quarter didn’t know what to say. And half of the remaining quarter didn’t approve. It went against the me they had in their heads.
Now before you tell me not to care about what other people say, I would like you to get a lesson from it. Who are you? What do people say you are? If I encounter you next year, will you still be the same? If what we knew about you ten years ago is still what we’ll know about you ten years to come, then you have a problem. Grow. And as you remove yourself from the box you’ve put yourself in, remove others too. Give them space to be what they want to be when they want to be.
Now incase you are wondering whether I’m against Consistency, which is a good thing in itself, I’ll draw us to learn from God about just being. God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. This is not some pastor’s interpretation of His word, God Himself says so. That He never changes. That He is the same. That God told Joshua that He would be with Him the same way He was with Moses. If you look at Joshua’s life, do you see Him being like Moses in any way, besides both being leaders chosen by God? Their lives are different. Yet God kept His word. Same God, two humans, He is with both of them equally but different manifestation of same God in both lives.
That’s my point. That who you are remains the same. The 5 year old girl is still alive in me. But what that me does in every situation and stage of life is different and should be so. You can’t make the same decisions during sunshine as during a flood. So today I look at myself, and seek to know the ever changing me, while removing others from any box I might have placed them in. Go out there and just be you. Just be.