I fell to my knees and begged to have her back in my life. Every single cell in my entire body and soul wanted this relationship to work. For almost six years, I had lived a happy life because she was my world. I adored her to bits and never imagined how life might turn out, without her. She looked at the book I had brought her in a bid to salvage our relationship. I knew it was rich in knowledge about Love and that it would work miracles. She picked it up and smashed it on my face. She kicked me out of her place. I walked away in tears. It was hard to take in all the humiliation despite my genuine attempts at making things right.
One month later, things weren’t getting any better. I thought time would heal the pain but in fact, it worsened. My health deteriorated. I suffered from myself. Every part of my body ached. I took on an eight hour journey back home, my all-time assured therapeutic destination. I would stay home until everything faded away, then I would travel back to the city with a renewed soul and spirit ready to take on a new life.
Immediately I got home, my mum embraced me warmly. Her hug was priceless. I felt like a toddler being lulled to sleep. All my siblings ran to the living room, each giving me a warm welcome home in their best preferred ways. It was all giggles and laughter until mum popped the question,
” Where is Nana, my Daughter-in-Law to be?”
Everyone turned and looked at me in silence waiting for an answer. My mind was blank. I hated myself. My whole world was crumbling in and there was nothing I could do. I wish they just understood how much I was hurting. Yes, I am an African man who is a rock and shouldn’t ever confess that at times my heart is vulnerable. Yes I know that I am supposed to do what most men my generation do; pretend and hide my insecurities behind the bottles and barrels of liquor or a fleet of women. But I just cannot be that.
A part of me was really mad at everyone. Do you mean they couldn’t just appreciate me as Dan without the lady I used to introduce as Love of My Life? Was I just a door through which they got to see her? Could they not understand? But who is to blame? Definitely not them. They couldn’t understand what they didn’t know. I lied that I was just home for an academic trip and that I was travelling back the next day. At least I managed to pull one of those many excuses we are used to whenever we are trying to run away from reality.
The next day I was on my way back to what I was running away from – City Life. The thought of living in the harsh city life while trying to find my lost pieces crashed my dreams of ever being whole again. I sat in my enclosed house for three days thinking. I didn’t know the kind of places I like hanging out at. I didn’t know the kind of dressing I like. I didn’t know the type of movies I enjoyed. Frankly, I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know what makes me happy. It’s funny that I couldn’t make myself happy but yet expected someone that I loved to do this for me. All along, I had dressed for her, watched movies she liked and hung out at the places she loved and thus we were happy. Now that she was gone, I was left alone not knowing myself or anything about me. I had lost my identity.
Your happiness is way too high a responsibility to be bestowed on to another human being, take charge. We spend our life moving from one partner to another and blaming the previous one for not making us happy. We develop deep hatred for a set of group of people because the person we dated from that tribe, community, nationality or race didn’t make us happy. We blame others for failing to give us what we cannot provide on our own. We develop conventions about this and spread it to our circles.
If I asked you to name the things/people you love, how long will it take to name yourself? Have you ever asked yourself who you are besides your lover, friend, family or relative? Are you defined by someone else’s identity?
I beseech you to embark on a journey to mould yourself. The self is not something that one discovers, it is something that one creates. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen next year. But eventually you will discover yourself. Don’t wait for death to liberate you from your earthy imperfections. You are exactly the same after death as you were before. Nothing changes; you only give up the body. If you are a thief or a liar or a cheater before death, you don’t become an angel merely by dying. If such were possible, then let us all go jump in the ocean now and become angels at once! Whatever you have made of yourself thus far, so will you become hereafter. Even if you reincarnate, you will bring that same nature with you. To change, you have to make the effort. This world is the place to do it.
One day it just clicks. You realize and appreciate what is important and what is not. You learn to care less about what other people think about you and more about what you think of yourself. You realize how far you’ve come and you remember when you thought things were such a mess that you would never recover. And you smile heartily. You smile because you are truly happy and are the person you’ve fought to become.
People say that so and so is happy because they found the Love of their life. But the love of your life is not someone you find, it is someone you become. You are the Love of Your Life! Stop looking for people to make you happy. Start creating yourself! Henceforth, will you be your Valentine?
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Photo credit: Danstan Wasobokha