Every day, three times a day, I will get an email update from LinkedIn announcing that one of my connections has endorsed me. It isn’t the update that irks me. Or the fact that my connections have continued to blindly endorse me for skills they know I have right now little need for.
What irks me most is the subject line. Specifically, the exclamation mark at the end of the subject line.
Young writers, we are advised against the exclamation mark. The exclamation mark is a sign of the weak writer with even weaker sentences. Sentences unable to stand on their own feet. Sentences which can’t exclaim on their own. So you festoon it with an exclamation mark hopeful that it will act as a crutch for your weak sentences. Nay, your weaknesses.
It’s like one of those fake moles women of Nairobi like to wear – a precise and artificial beauty that lacks the sophistication of ragged imperfection. It’s controlled. It’s imposed. It’s incurious. It’s inelegant because it’s incurious, imposed and controlled. The appeal of beauty stems partly from its choicelessness, don’t you agree?
I don’t know why I wrote that piffle.
Anyway, I celebrated my birthday late last week. I turned 29. I am in a gap year. Gap years ask for many things but fake moles or exclamation marks aren’t one of them. Read on.
I borrowed the idea of Saturn from a local bridal magazine. The magazine built a theme around Saturn and the twenty-nine years it takes to complete its orbit around the Sun. That got me thinking about the woman I am today and begged for introspection: what have I become in the time that my Saturn has been orbiting the Sun?
Granted, I may not have reached self-actualisation but I am wiser now, more certain and more secure. Beyond this, lies the clarity of the things that define me and that shall continue to add to this wisdom, certainty and security.
I embrace simplicity. That he if loves me, he shall say it. That when I wrong, or have been wronged, forgiveness follows. In failure, I dust myself off, get up and try again. That if it rains today, then the sun shall come out tomorrow. The most powerful belief is that if I close one door, then another one shall open. Always, and when I need it to open most.
I have less clutter in my life; my circles are tighter, my wardrobe smaller, and my worriers fewer. Friends who whine about situations that they have the power to change are let go of. My lady-bag holds fewer items: tissues, tampons, handkerchief and wet wipes; all other things I liked to carry around – safety pins, toothpicks, band aids, razor blade and shaver – are clutter. I ruthlessly toss out make-up that is past its six-month recommended period. I no longer ask the fashion gods to multiply that pair of jeans that makes my hips and thighs feel like a million bucks; instead I wear them out (pun intended) realizing that the next pair shall be found when I am ready to look for them. The attachment that once I held for people and possessions is shedding off. This means that I don’t miss things anymore; if I do, then there is a problem.
My texts are shorter and my emails more thoughtful. I am more aware of how each word in my sentences is potent.
As a woman, the definition of an ideal suitor boil down to what Steve Harvey preached as one who shall protect, provide and profess. Any man who does not measure up against these three P’s is not worth a second chance.
Excuses and reasons that I came up with to explain reckless behaviour is dismissed as the naivety of youth. I am more cautious now; I do as I please, when I please because I give thought to the consequences of all my actions. Moreover, I realise that the best time to get things done is now; I strike now when my iron is still hot.
I listen to my heart and to my spirit often. The desires of my heart are to take on everything that come my way with passion; it is either one or zero, black or white. The thought of doing anything with one foot out the door is foreign and forbidden. When passion lacks, my spirit is punished to carry a burden that is far too great for it to bear. It is in such times when I understand that all I have to do is surrender. Letting go, and letting God, does not point at my own weaknesses as a woman or as a person. It merely means that I realise the point at which my back shall break fighting battles that are no longer my own.
Each day that my Saturn gets closer to completing its first journey, I too get closer to becoming the woman that I want to be. Unlike Saturn, who shall simply continue with its march on as if nothing momentous just happened, I would like something out of the ordinary to celebrate my successful orbit. Who knows, I may not be around for when my Saturn completes its journey next.