There’s a common misconception that when times are hard, it’s got to be all for a cause. Because you’re working hard and hustling for your greater good. That any second now you’ll be rewarded for all the burn you've been putting out. But life is not supposed to be this hard. I’m not supposed to be this tired. And it’s okay to say it’s not. It’s okay to want to have an easier life. It’s okay to wish things meander on with littler effort. A hard life does not equate to one more worthy or full.
Twenty-one has been hard but hell has it been worth it.
I’ve learnt Home is not a place but the people I encounter and the love I exchange. But that a place is sustenance for strength to fight on and the liminality of not having one stretches far wider than the hand of my watch. The weight of the world is easier to navigate when you can go home to someone you love. I’ve been thinking loudly and living quietly. I’ve been doing the best I can with the cards I’ve been playing.
I’ve put on a stone and I feel heavy and my stomach swollen. But the world hasn’t fallen apart. My boyfriend still loves me. My friends still love me. My family still love me. I can still write and create, well. I take up more space but my mind isn’t forcing me to think myself smaller. I’m still playing victim to my own trauma as an excuse to not exercise. “Your body can’t yet handle it,” I tell myself. 22 will be movement and sweat and not living a life through yesterday’s lens.
Acne still sores but my magazine is stocked in fashion’s most prestigious flagship.
I made it to graduation within an inch of my life. My body buoyant on nothing but the understanding of knowing I was crossing the line to the other side. My deflated heart yearns for air and that I have been giving it. Healing it day by day. There comes a time in life to which you refer as ‘before’ and ‘after’. No one particularly prepares you for life after university but I have proven to be doing just fine.
I may not have riches in the bank but I have my art and the places it takes me which is higher than any damn plane will ever be able to fly.
I’ve begun peeling back the layers of a decade of sadness and encountered breakthroughs aplenty. To be consumed by your own otherness is to beguile a life of not approaching everything you touch with kindness and one I am no longer interested in. There’s a certain amount of shedding to be done to find that privilege but I have shed, reshaped and guided as my life depended on it, because it has.
I finally started calling myself a writer.
Breaths have become deeper and I understand my body as a vessel for accessing my essence. I have read life-affirming and life-changing books. I have been lost and other times imbued by my own sense of purpose. The balance comes and goes without even owning a pair of scales.
Twenty-one is being so focused on your path you’re blindsided by the external forces hitting you on your way. It’s loving and believing and wanting that to be enough. It’s enduring the search of finding the antidote to all things painful. Settling down into the home of yourself. It’s holding on whilst knowing it’s holding you back. When doing five things before noon is the greatest achievement you can strive for - knowing one of those five things could one day be successfully showering and another, getting commissioned to write something powerful. It’s a lot of nuance.
I am leaving twenty-one behind along with my first job and an ambivalence of the future. My path is unmapped, my roots unwritten and stability seldom. But an uncertainty has shifted. I am scared to fall not. Change is sought after and will come not by keeping my feet firm on the ground but by diving head first into the next chapter of my twenties. Unafraid of failing. I am only afraid of living anything but fiercely by default.
Twenty-two will be better with everyday forward.