By Moyinoluwa Okunloye
*NOTE: I have a pen-pal who I often share the most vulnerable details of the progress and setbacks in my life with, before I find the courage to post it up here. I wrote this letter to my friend in January just to appreciate how beneficial our acquaintance has being to me. I will eventually expatiate on some issues raised in the letter in subsequent posts but for now, enjoy the beauty of vulnerability and appreciate the gift of having someone who listens ……….with no strings attached.
Before now, I have always thought about what people think about me -my friends, families, colleagues and everyone around. And while that was very important to me so that I can be sure that I conduct myself in a way that pleased most people, it was in a way, detrimental to me because it was hard to even understand what exactly I personally want. At a point in my life, once I have a male friend, my first thought would be, “I hope he likes me.” That was very important to me because then, it would make me feel like I am worth something. I remember that immediately someone starts to show an interest in me, my first thought would be, “would my father be proud? does he fit into the idea of the person my family will approve of …….cos, mi o fe wahala o.” This would come even before I think about if indeed, I really like this person for me.
But guess what, buddy?
2018 was the year that I found love in its beautiful, most purest state. I found love in myself and for myself. I found love in me to love everyone and everything truly -to understand that sometimes people’s actions and reactions to me are not my fault but a result of something that they might also be going through at that time, to see through people’s flaws and genuinely love them because I am equally flawed, and to really see things and appreciate it’s worth and the privilege to see, have, own and hold them and never to take it for granted.
Photo credit: Ali Yahya on Unsplashed
I found love for myself to truly understand me -to appreciate my very beautiful strengths and to genuinely highlight all my flaws and love myself in the process of making adjustments. I found love for myself to know exactly what I want in life, from life, and from people in life and not just accept the standard that the world, families or anyone seem to have set for me. I found love for myself to appreciate people’s constructive criticisms and take it in while I hold dear to my sieve -because I know that every piece of advice will not always be beneficial to me in the long run. I found love for myself to genuinely laugh -laugh from my heart and with my whole face, spirit and soul light up just from watching a video of “Baby Shark.”
In all of these, I have gotten to appreciate how I feel in people’s presence more than how they feel about me. I am conscious more about staying happy on a daily more than leaving things to however it turns out. Now, I have friends more because I genuinely love these people more than my worry of what they think about me.
It’s probably the reason I feel so happy to have you around because it is not so much about what you are given but more about how lit up I get even when I don’t want to be. It’s the same feeling I have when I am with Joy. It is more about how joyful I am around you. And even though I sometimes think about the memories and feelings that my friends, especially both of you, get from being with me, I am really just aware of how loud my laughter is, how crazy I get and how I become a talkative (you guys are stuck with me, regardless of how you feel about me, duh!).
So, my friend, I found love in myself and for myself and because of that, the picture of the other person that I want to spend my life with has become clearer. And it is not complicated. It’s just what I want -God, love, life. And the in-betweens are just filled with living life, truly living life to the fullest.
Photo credit: drop-the-label-movement-668299-unsplash