20 Lessons that 2018 Taught Me

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Last year was a roller coaster ride for all of us , 365 days full of different learnings –  be it small or life changing. Like every one else I learned a lot too about different people and about myself , but against hundreds of small and big learning , these twenty are what made me more resolute to have a better 2019.

1. My father told me , on days you can’t be pretty , learn how to be fearless , fearless enough to carry the weight of the knowledge that you might be condemned , be courageous enough to accept that as a woman this is your fate, I learnt my future last month.

2. A month before that I laid on my bed thinking of dragons and warriors and barely there sleep , how my ankles clanged against each other when I had forgotten to eat for days , I learnt how to be empty then.

3. Three months before that I swallowed stones to keep down the storm that brewed inside me every time I read your name. How the syllables of your last name churned inside my mind creating only one word out of the puzzle , hurt , I learnt how to hurt. 

4. Two months after that I realised that all those promises that you sewed into my skin of better tomorrows with threads of sunlight had detangled and gotten infected. You called me a disease once , said I had infested your mind with all my talk of  brave heartedness and expectations. Disease you said , I learnt how to be bravehearted instead.

5. One month before that I had joined a support group called “Help” , they taught us how to be selfless , how to not fall prey to the aristocracies of our mind , two days into the group I realised that I didn’t have the courage to wish you well anymore , I learned how to live with my anger. 

6. Previous to that month there was blood on my floor , you had built a home out of my skin and one month later had left me at the first sign of damage. Open wounds and ribs for bricks , I evacuated myself , curtained the living room of my soul with bandages , I learnt to make home out of myself then.

7. Five months later , I saw my grandfather in my dream for the first time after his death , he didn’t look like himself though but a mirage of all those teachings that he had stamped onto my skin last summer , one of them being an instruction manual on how to build oneself. I learnt how to construct then.

8. 2 months later I started recognising the patterns of my body, like how when it convulsed and caved in on itself it was trying to cleanse you off itself , how when my mouth shook with howls in the middle of the night , it had missed your touch and how the moonlight only burned me more , how every inch of skin screamed for help , I learned how to sooth myself. 

9. Next month when we sat on our bed for what felt like a thousandth of time and let our tongues set fire to our house. I Was certain that all that would’ve been left would be my charred bones. Our words were like matchsticks , igniting into flames at the first sign of heat. It’s true I guess , how you can’t always make a house out of wood , so I learned how to set up my cremation instead.

10. In the last moth of us you called me dirty , unholy , so I turned my body into a basilica and drenched my hair with holy water , turned my mouth into a spitting image of “aspersorium” turning you Christian with every touch , how am I sordid if your hands are the one that touched me , how am I filthy if your mouth was the one cursing , so I got baptised twice just to turn filthy the third time , I learnt to love me dirty. 

11. The second boy I tried to love last year liked me all tamed and dependant, like he had found me during one of his hunting trips and had found my head pretty enough to cut and hang above his bed chamber like the deer he once caught in headlights , he kept me like a trophy and provided enough warmth to melt my insides so that he could pour them into stencils of what he desired me to be , I learnt how to change. 

12. On the third day of our adventure he asked me how I felt , I told him that sometimes  I feel as small as the box of cigarettes that my father hides in the back of his cupboard and sometimes when I stand on the roof I feel big enough to swallow the whole world inside me. He told me that this carelessness of mine threatened him , I learnt how to keep quite then.

13. On the fourth day of our third week he broke my will into pieces and had it for supper, crushed my strength and words and digested them with soup made out of my heartbeats , that night I learned how not to be me anymore. 

14. On the third day after the feast , I played join the dots with solar system and the formations formed were still not in my favour, I learnt how to live without luck then.

15. In the second last month of the last year he made a gesture , grand enough to shrink all my insecurities so that they could fit the palm of his hand that he rubbed against his neck in frustration. Loving him was like learning how to chant sorry like a mantra , I learnt to forget that it was not me who needed forgiveness. 

16. In the month after that I found blood on my hands of all the boys that loved me after you , he was childlike , but people in thier innocence can sometimes be cruel , he once told me he saw future in my eyes , all I saw when I looked at him was five foot eight inches of guilt , I learned how sometimes I could too be wrong. 

17. In the last week of last year I told my sister that you had put a virus inside me , how you had hung sweet words around my neck and pushed the stool as far as you could. The remedy to your sickness I thought was to move on , so I took your name for a thousandth of time until the taste of it dried out on my tongue and fell down to the floor below , I learnt to let go. 

18. Five weeks after you left I tried loving him again , but loving him felt like penance and salvation perfectly wrapped together in a boy. I wish before stitching his wounds I would’ve tended to the one you left behind first. I learnt how to heal myself , by myself. 

19. The day I decided to finally let go of you, I remember the last time I took your name while screaming at night , it foamed angrily like poison in my mouth , I had finally drunk the antidote of moving on. That night you called and said that you wanted to talk after six moths of disappearing. It felt like I was swimming in a pool of acid and when you left me yet again , I swallowed that acid pool with remenants ofyour flesh still stuck behind my teeth , but I learnt that just because it hurts , doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it anymore. 

20. 12 moths into last year I realised that this self destruction has been indoctorined in my head my whole life , how my mother slipped a pinch of prejudice in my morning tea and my father chewed small chunks of misogyny with his toast. How the first boy that ever loved didn’t trust me enough to stay , how the second boy I couldn’t love enough to keep. When they called me too full of myself , I baked my bones into vessels of their words and trust and when they said I was too empty I could do nothing but stuff hate into my mouth with the butter knife cutting into my flesh. When they told me I was dirty I scrubbed all night , and when I was too clean for them I had mud dumped on my head. I decorated my body with honey and apple and served myself like a pie that they could cut a slice off of me and satisfy their appetite. Last year I was their girl , so saintly and obedient , they have been asking me this year to conjure up the ghost of the girl who I used to be. I just smile nowadays , I am not their person anymore. Last year I learnt how to be mine first.

These 20 realisations or learning came to me sometimes easily blended with sunrises and moonlight and sometimes I had to dig deep into my mind to find answers , though 2018 was certainly difficult, it was more than anything else enlightening for me.

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