Until five years ago I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was a typical career girl and with hindsight defined myself by my work though back then I just called it driven. I didn’t have the five to 10 year plan but I always assumed I could write and that the constant flow of words in my head would land on a couple hundred pages and turn into something people would want to read.
I still want to be a writer but I have to do something first. Change the lightbulb that blew out inside me.
See five years ago, I left the loving nest of my family and friends to live in a land far, far away. An African in the snow my friend Donna said to me. Yes, it’s about a boy. I fell in love and as love makes us do strange things I ended up leaving the warm African continent for a much colder one near the north pole. The packing was pure hell and the goodbyes were well horrendous. In one fell swoop, I set in motion a sequence of events that haunt me to date.
I left behind a chance to be editor of a publication I was working on for a job where on my first day was told the salary stipulated in the signed offer was wrong – it was less. We were off to a great start. Nine months later I was unemployed, wedding bells unrung and back in my continent with a suitcase and a few boxes that I didn’t get round to shipping the first time around.
The boy and I spent many agonising months apart, fighting fortress Europe and the fun and games of immigration that by the time we got the little piece of official documentation saying we could be together once more, I was packing again and simply ignored the warning in my heart that it was not what I should do. That’s the short version, more on that another day.It is after 2.30am in my neck of the woods.
The 18 months (split in nine-month long tours as I like to call them) I spent in that Scandinavian town broke me and left me with a 23kg reminder on my body. I turned away from the light and stole some of the boy’s shine too. It’s what literature would call a coming of age tale. Innocence was lost.
A couple of months ago my eldest niece turned 17-years-old, she is an all round beautiful girl. Watching her that day it occurred to me for the very first
time what youth was. It wasn’t the number of candles on a birthday cake or as the commercials incessantly tell us youth is the absence of fine lines and wrinkles. It is the availability of options, the wealth of possibilities, the numerous paths you could go down and the feeling that you could still decide which direction to take.
I am not 17 so I want to remake myself. I know what I want to do but I don’t know how to get it done. Which brings me to why I am writing this blog. Because writing is how I express myself even if I have not shared it most of the time. I am lost and I want to find my way again in the only way I know how, in the only way I should have been doing all along.
Most importantly I am finally tired of doing what I always do, talk myself out of doing what I want to do. My fear and rage have paralysed me long enough that even I, masochist that I am, know that it’s time to stop. Stop wasting precious time.
‘I sustain myself with the love of family’ Maya Angelou has been quoted as saying. My deep love for mine inspires me. Prevents the darkness from winning. They all tell me to never give up on writing. They love me just for being me.