First time we met, I don’t remember if I was just jealous she was skinny (with a happy appetite) or if I was thrilled to make a new friend. After spending a few days on her blog, a depth to her was opened to me, and she’s been one of my favorite people ever since!
Say hello to Dosh!
My name is Elizabeth “Dosh” Mabonga and I am Ugandan, Nigerian and American. Biologically, I am only two of these and legally, I am also just two but together, they have contributed to making me who I am so I claim all three without shame or favor. My church owns a school and I work at the Early Education Center, teaching school aged children in the after-school program. I am also a graduate student hoping to earn my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling by the end of next year.
The biggest lesson I learnt (and I am still learning) this year is silence. My filters don’t work right but life has taught me to shut my big mouth and let some things be. Not every opinion needs to be heard, not every emotion needs to be expressed and not every err needs to be pointed out. I am gradually learning to love the silence and discover the secrets to it; how to smile with just my heart, hurt passively, go around like a ninja… unseen and unheard.
The thing I am most grateful for this year is that I got to go home, to Nigeria. My mother is so technologically handicapped that she refuses to get a smart smart-phone or learn how to turn on a computer so I only get to see her on the rare occasion that she dedicates 30 minutes to taking and texting me a picture. Concrete mumu that my genes are, they decided to inherit some of this disorder. On a brighter note, going home meant I got to spend time with her, get breakfast in bed, eat pounded yam nine times in less than two weeks and have someone fuss over me round the clock. Priceless!
I read somewhere that “people take care of those they love and those who love in return are willing to accept that caretaking”. If I could do one thing differently this year, it would be to open my eyes to the depth of my relationships. I took some friends for granted and placed those who couldn’t care less about me on a pedestal. When people love you, they love all of you, tolerate your dark side and call you out on your foolishness. Unfortunately, it took a whole and three-quarters of foolishness to for me to realize this. Most of all, I hurt some of my favorite people in the world by not sharing my problems with them. I don’t think I understood how possible this was till they confronted me about it and counted instances in the past when I didn’t let them in. I grew up as an only child and learnt long ago to depend on just myself, my mother and my God so opening up and confiding in best friends/romantic partners is new territory.
In the end, I feel like a 5-year old who is learning the appropriate times to speak up and when to remain silent. In speaking up, I am learning that it is alright to seek comfort from the people who love me but not to yarn my church mind ever so often. In hushing up, I am rediscovering the secrets to silence, and the quiet is deafening.