‘Turn your demons into art, your shadow into a friend, your fear into fuel, your failures into teachers, your weaknesses into reasons to keep fighting. Don’t waste your pain. Recycle your heart.’ – Andrea Balt
It’s World Mental Health Day, and I thought to share a piece from my notes with you. These are usually pieces that don’t go past the book – but on a day like this, the only hope is that every passing day of our lives, we realize the wonder that we are. Mental illness, depression, PTSD etc. are things we like to sweep under the carpet, but if you know me on a personal level, you know these are the things I like to talk about and read about. I like to listen to stories people don’t want to share. I am a secret storage in human form tbh (I once thought I’d major in psychology and become a counselor or therapist or something – I didn’t tell you that), but this is because of my consciousness of the human wonder – our ups, downs, and therebetweens, and the realization that IT IS OKAY to talk about them! It is why I write stories about hurting and hiding and poems about stumbling. Okay. Enough talking, here’s one for me and you:
Adolescence was a war between two armies, innit? Each a one-man army, or so it seemed. Standing in the middle, I felt life split into two, pulling me from two ends. Who stays in the middle of an angry battle? None other than a teenager who is trying to figure life out. It was subtle, almost unreal, but quite undeniable that it was fierce. I was a strait betwixt two (is that how Paul said it?) or say, I was to make a decision – to be or not to be (even Shakespeare knows). I knew two paths couldn’t be right because Robert Frost explained it all. So what? I was a contestant loved by two judges. Who would my fifteen-year old self choose to become The Voice she now desperately craves?
At twelve, I thought a lot about the fancy word: TEENAGER. Of course, I was about to be cool, and finally grown. You know, I would finally level up to Hannah Montana and ooh, Gabriella, or Sharpay when I choose not to be so sweet. Thirteen came and my sister made a song for me:
Wonder Wonder Wonder Wonder
Alexi ti di teenager*
O ma ti di teenager.*
Wonder Wonder Wonder Wonder.
Teenagehood became a burden, soon enough. I had more crushes. Even though I finally got a phone, Mum seized it for a week. Two years and trying to figure it out. Fifteen slowly answered my questions. I was just a girl waiting to find her own identity. What was I really? Why did I want to sing like Beyonce? Why did I rap in Nicki Minaj’s tone? Why then did I want to speak like Amanpour? Why did I want to build an empire like Oyedepo? What took me back to memories of Enid Blyton and made me want to put pen to paper forever? Why did I want to have all the money in the world before clocking 20? Why did I think life would evolve no more after my teenage years? It was subtle, yet unreal.
As I ate dinner, and as I learnt to fry eggs, all I imagined was if I would become that pacesetter that Bishop Abioye called us at Youth Alive Conventions, or the examples of teenagers whose lives took erroneous turns before it even started. Now I’m seeing the twentys and dear fifteen, if I had to tell you anything, I’d say RELAX. ONE STEP AT A TIME. LIFE UNFOLDS LIKE A STORY.
Okay Royalty, there you go. Back to World Mental Health Day, I need you to know that your physical health is as important as your mental health. As you read this post, someone just took his/her own life. Some others just contemplated it, but do you realize that you are not at the end of yourself even if you are at the end of a particular situation. Take it from me: Talk to someone. Reach out to someone, and a few other tips include:
- Never regret a lost love – life is in phases, and those phases include people.
- Forgive yourself – yes, I know you did this or that, but let it go. It’s a new dawn now.
- Live in the moment – frustration is fear of the future. Don’t be so caught up in reaching out that you forget to reach within.
- Forgive others – read all about it here.
- Smile – you need that magic!
- Come to Jesus – He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
I still have my counselor genes. Reach out to me here if you need to talk.
With Overflowing Love,
Alexi ti di teenager* - Alex has become a teenager O ma ti di teenager.* - She has become a teenager