I remember that statement said to me, a 13 years old girl by a 13 years old boy 13 years ago. (Pheeew!). It actually goes like, “kizuri chajiuza kibaya chajitembeza.” I was in the seventh grade by then. In love. (Ahem!) What really happened on that day was that the boys at my boarding school had developed a habit of playing with fruits,taking them to their dormitories and littering everywhere. Matron got mad at them and decided to punish them by giving us (the girls) two oranges each, with the instruction that we are to not give the boys.
Unfortunately I ate one and gave the boy I liked (loved 🙄) the other one. If that’s not enough, since I happened to be the head girl, I had access to more oranges and I gave them to three (or so )of my male friends. That was when one of the male friends told me that statement which by then I did not understand but for 13 years I’ve been asking myself “why the hell did he tell me that”.
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Talking about the boy. I loved him. I did. It was almost like an obsession. When I was in class, I wanted to sit beside him. In the dining hall, because he had to sit with his fellow boys, I sat in a corner at which I’ll be able to see him. When playing football I wanted to be in his team. When on a trip I wanted to share a seat with him. I could not eat anything without sharing with him. I’d always want to know where he is. I was like a monitoring device. It was exhausting.
Then I grew up and met men (lol) , I fell in and out of love quickly, made the first move, texted first, wrote poems, searched their phones, stalked their social medias, watched who they talked to, who they stare at, who made them smile the most, what made them tick, stayed up till late nights, woke up early just to fit in his time zone, dumbed myself up, squatted, smarten myself up just to keep them interested. I can’t recall how many times I searched “how to keep him interested” in Google.
I did most of the work in the relationship, mostly 80, they did 20 and when it was somehow better, I did 60 they did 40. Most of the times it wasn’t because they did not love me, but because I did not give them the chance to do anything. I believed in “doing” things for someone to love me. Fast forward 13 years later, I’m with a lovely child and a man that loves me. But unfortunately I still do so much as I’m used to, believing that not doing so will not keep him. I end up miserable and exhausted and unable to truly be there for him emotionally.
Then one day we had a funeral on my husband’s side and being the daughter-in-law I had to have an almost bald head(story for another day). I felt ugly. Worse enough, his ex girlfriend came and she was in dreadlocks. I was bitter and desperate. I wanted to show them I could be cute but didn’t know how to, wanted to flaunt my other abilities and it did not work ,so, in the midst of the desperation I found myself “being too nice” (if you know what I mean ) . Well, I had to seek to please because what else could people see apart from the ugliness? So I sought after people’s needs and attended to them. I worked in the kitchen, cleaned, cooked till I had no strength left. Tired was an understatement. I was drained and unhappy. And not able to do more. Worse enough, I was not able to be there for my husband when he had lost his loved one. I felt angry and frustrated. I decided to do nothing.
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So I sat my exhausted butt on a chair around the fire with some other women preparing dinner and in the midst of stories someone said “you know there are things that someone can say to you and might not make sense at the spot but leave you questioning yourself why the hell you were told that?” Suddenly, I remembered the words I was told 13 years ago and I was like, damn, isn’t that what I’m doing right now? Wait, Isn’t that what I have been doing my whole life?”
Acting ugly, believing I was ugly so my actions have been shouting “I’m here, please see me, please love me.” Because somehow I believed they wouldn’t. But where did that come from? I realized it came from deep within me.
From me believing that I’ll be loved by ” doing” not “being”. Because I believed “being” was not enough. I didn’t feel like I was enough so I had to add up to compensate what I thought was missing.
Which was wrong and exhausting. And I didn’t want to do that anymore. Kujitembeza. But mostly, I thought of my end. Would I want my end to find me this way? Would I want to look back from my death bed and realize that all I ever did with my life was trying to compensate for the little worth I felt I had? I looked around me and saw life. I saw people living and loving and laughing. I looked at my child and I asked myself, what am I teaching him about life? Is this how I’m modeling to him on how to live? I looked at my man and vowed that I would never let resentment and jealousy and insecurity take the place of the laughter we should be having. I vowed to die exhausted by the things that made me happier and more fulfilled, not leaving me drained.
Written by Milpeace