Why did you stop?
Where have you been?
Are you really back?
Are you here to stay?
I don’t know if it was the books or movies or just growing up as a member of the OA family but I was the girl with a plan. In Primary School, I was going to be an accountant. Not like my aunt, I was going to be better. I was going to be a chartered accountant. I enjoyed “doing” the books for my mother’s shop and counting the crumbled change that was picked out of my father’s pocket during laundry. What else could I possibly require for a bright future in accounting? It was meant to be.
In Junior Secondary School, I realized I wasn’t a numbers girl after all. I didn’t like business studies or any form of calculation based on imaginary money or maybe I just couldn’t get over the teacher’s tight pants. I transitioned out of numbers, I welcomed books and with them came the words.
Now words, I was good at. Leading the debate team, winning the Procter & Gamble “My First Time” essay, talking back to my housemistress – they never failed me. Words led me to Jackie Collins and birthed my vision to be the modern day Lucky Santangelo or at least a woman who could earn the respect and possibly, admiration of a Lucky Santangelo. That was the beginning of my law aspirations.
I was going to be a widely successful women’s rights lawyer, maybe win a Nobel Prize along the way. More importantly, I had to get my law degree from Harvard because if you were anything like me, you spent half your childhood thinking Harvard was Hogwarts. The fact that I had the grades to match helped propel this vision in an upward trajectory.
In 2010, I enrolled at The Pennsylvania State University for a Bsc in Psychology with a Business option and minors in Women’s Studies and Sociology. Not the Ivy-league I would have preferred but good enough till I took my place at Harvard law.
Years later as I’m sitting in the little Bound Brook library writing this, I can’t help but laugh at that girl. How naive was I? I read all those books, watched all those movies and learnt nothing; or maybe that was the problem, I read and watched too much. I made all these plans without factoring in “the storms of life”.
And storm it did. Thunder, hail, and lightning. Days turned into weeks, into months, into years. Everything I thought I knew about myself, about life was questioned. Nothing made sense anymore, I was lost. Family became strangers, friends kept at bay, lovers nowhere to be found. Every thing that could go wrong had gone wrong. Gone were the days of “the girl with a plan”.
All through this, I was mad at myself – for the dreams, the grand ambitions, believing everything I read/watched/heard. “Dream big” they said, “reach for the stars” they said. I wondered how different, easier, life would have been if I didn’t dream. Without these dreams whose far-fetched-ness kept me up night-after-night, would failure have been easier to accept? What becomes of my life? Will I make it? Is this it for me? Am I better off not seeing tomorrow? Should I just end it here? Do miracles exist? Night after night after night, those were the questions that turned a blissful sleeper into an insomniac.
I didn’t dare ask how.
To answer your questions, I’ve been dealing with life the best way I know how to. I stopped because I didn’t want to live a lie. I don’t know what the future holds, none of us do. It’s still raining, gets pretty heavy often but I know the storm is over (inserts imaginary R.Kelly emoji). So on this day which is a celebration of another year of life, I finish this post with a quote from one of my favorite poet:
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learnt about life: It goes on” -Robert Frost
Happy Birthday to me!