The thing I love best about the #31Days31Writers series is the diversity it stirs up, from people I probably would never have heard before! And there is so much knowledge and insight in the world we miss out when we don’t listen to others! Halimah has such a powerful post, and it is my pleasure to present this beautiful writer on the 3rd day of our series!
My name is Halimah Tauheed and I am Congolese-Nigerian, a fact I have hidden for so long because I was afraid of the reactions of people. I stay in Minna and people there are still not quite receptive of “mixed “nationals like me. I teach at the Federal University there and I also volunteer at the campus radio. I love continental dishes, especially Indian. I am constantly fiddling with my phone, not because I am chatting, but because I am learning new (and sometimes weird) stuff.
Forgive me for not following the order in which we were asked to write. Hence, I will start with what I have learned this year. I have learned to take my own advice. I present an inspirational program every Sunday where I dole out words that would hopefully uplift people’s spirits and souls but the funny thing is I often go home after each show empty. I learned that it is okay for me not to be the most amazing person in the room. It is okay to be just me. I learned that it is okay to love and not be loved in return. I learned that love cannot be bought, forced, cajoled or manipulated.
For as long as I can remember, people, including some so-called friends, described me as “awkward”, “misplaced” and “weird.” I realised I was not understood and did almost everything to change that perception. I have learned it is ok to be misunderstood and “out- of- place” in society. I have learned to believe that I matter too and I am learning to love myself. I have learned that people are human and will hurt you, sometimes not of their own volition and that I must forgive them for my own good. I learned that I am also deserving of my forgiveness. I learned that certain “important” people would walk away from you and life would go on. I have learned not to squirm when I look at myself in the mirror and to love my imperfectly perfect body. I have learned that life is like the roads in Nigeria where some parts are good, others bad and the rest horrible. I have learned to be less judgemental of people. Everyone is fighting a battle, some that would give u shivers down your spine. I have learned that there is still hope, even in the face of depression, tears, and fears.
I am grateful to The Almighty for the opportunity at another chance to do right by myself, do right by others, to say sorry, to motivate someone or anyone, to help a person whether friend or stranger. I am grateful for family and friends who love me unconditionally. I am grateful for the boy who calls me “Mummy” even though I am not. I am grateful for the gifts I have been given and the ability to use some if not all of them.
If you ask me what I would undo this year, the first thought would be not to be so emotional. But on a second thought, why would I want to turn off part of my humanity? It is part of what makes me unique, makes me “me”. I realize now that it is a gift. So I would undo all the excuses I made up, the procrastinations and most of the pity parties. I would have been nicer to strangers, not lost my temper so often, and been more patient.
To you, it is not too late to make 2015 worthwhile and have an amazing 2016.
Boom!! I enjoyed reading this so much, it felt like Halimah was writing to me personally! As a matter of fact, when I received her entry my reply was “I think you have a gorgeous heart, and I really enjoyed reading this. I can’t wait to share with everyone!”
This was for me. Really. Come back tomorrow!