Letter to my younger self

Dear Angela,

You aren’t sure what’s ahead, and the unknown scares you. There are times when you won’t know what to do. You’ll lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for what seems like days trying to figure out your life. You’ll wish you could sleep for 2 years and wake up with a degree and money in the bank. What you’re feeling is normal. It’s understandable.
Breathe in. Breathe out. You’ll be fine fine. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Relax, you’ll become an adult and you’ll figure it out. You’ve a whole lifetime.

You’ll fail not once, not twice but many times. Go easy on yourself. Know that anyone who’s ever wanted anything in this world most, had to take risks. Luckily, the failures will leave you with many valuable life lessons. Embrace the difficulties you’ll encounter and learn from them. Good and bad things happen in life, just keep living and do not stress over what you can’t control. Worrying is a waste of time.
You may lose the people you love. You may lose things you have. But whatever happens, never lose yourself.
And no matter how far you go on the wrong road, you can still turn around.

You’ll fall in love several times. Guys no different from any other guy will wander into your life. You’ll give them a piece of yourself, that they didn’t ask for. Just because they did something dumb like smile at you, and your heart won’t be yours anymore. Then you’ll get your heart broken. You’ll wish there was a pill that could protect your fragile heart.
There will be many times when you’ll wonder if you’ll be able to feel anything again or love again. You’ll want to shut down, crawl into your bed and never come out again. You’ll stop believing the love that you hear about in music lyrics and see in movie scenes. You’ll find yourself in a place that’s rather empty. But God will heal the open wounds on that gorgeous heart of yours and patch them up. And you will heal from the hurt and the pain. Each one will teach you a valuable lesson in love.

Schools teach irrelevant things, but not how to cope with real life. They teach how to solve an equation but not how to handle heartbreaks. I would love for you to learn self-love and why it’s important. It’s not only loving others that matters, loving yourself also does. You’ll spend so many years of education but nobody will teach you of self-love, yet loving yourself is an essential part of living. You are worthy of your own love. Take the love that you have for others and turn it back toward yourself. Learn to love yourself so much that when someone enters your life and treats you negatively, you’ll stand up for yourself and let them go. Know your worth so that you won’t be a slave to apologies and not be afraid to walk away when not treated right. Let people in your life who treat you with the love and respect you deserve. You deserve the most pure, whole and authentic love. The biggest mistake you can make is losing yourself in the process of valuing someone too much, forgetting that you too are special (you’ll only understand when you get there).

Do not let loneliness lead you to the wrong person (again). Do not let your past make you shut down on true love. Be proud you risked your heart. And get ready to do it again because that’s the only way you’ll find real and lasting love. Love won’t forsake you. Do not harden your heart entirely. Take the time to heal. Don’t be scared forever. Love will still be out there, hiding somewhere and you’ll find love again. You’ll just need to be patient. Sooner or later someone who fits will come along. Someone who will not be afraid of how much you love and won’t stay on the shores but will meet you in the depth. Someone who’ll accept all of you, the dark, the light and the blurry in between. Someone who’ll be attentive and kind and humble. Someone who’ll not make you sad, someone who’ll never hold you back from the life you’ve always imagined yourself living. Never will he hurt your feelings or make you feel that you’re not good enough. Rather he’ll build you up. Because love is many things but not deceitful. Nothing toxic comes from love. And love liberates.

You’ll get to a point where you’ll get used to everything. People driven by ego and money. Good souls ruined daily. People hurting you and not caring that they did. Promises broken even though they were promised. People you used to talk to often that you’ll never speak to again. But always be thankful for the bad things in life for they open your eyes to see the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.
Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you. Think positively, no matter how hard life gets. Give much even if you’ve been given little. Forgive all. Always pray for the best of everyone. And give love like your life depends on it.

Enjoy every moment for it’ll never be this way again. Live your life fully. It is far too short to do otherwise. Always find time to laugh.

Love,

Your older wiser self

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Here’s To B

We’re at a friend’s house, we’ve attended a small party. He’s sitting across the table. A not-so-old woman comes in, greets everyone, except him. She moves towards him, as if to greet him. He says “Muraho” as he rises up to greet her. Because she heard him greet her, she just gives him her hand without even looking at him and moves past him to sit in opposite chair. She wasn’t going to greet him, she just wanted to pass to go sit. Lucky for him, no one noticed the embarrassing episode. But I did. I look at him and we both laugh.

He is in his mid 60s. He shaves his head completely bald. He’s a tall big man. He’s a news addict. He listens to the news on every radio station and watches the news on every TV channel he knows of. He also reads news online. He used to buy newspapers daily but nowadays he just reads online. He says it’s an addiction he can’t seem to shake off. Sometimes, the news upset him and he sits there arguing with the radio/TV. But he doesn’t want to miss any bit of information. When he’s not keeping up with the news, then he’s playing his music. He’s an old-school music fan. A hardcore devotee of Masabo, Muyango, Rugamba & amasimbi n’amakombe, Nyiranyamibwa, Kayirebwa. Totally old-school. I made him a selection of their music. As the songs play, one after another he gets carried away, singing along like he’ll never again listen to the songs, so beautifully written, so emotionally seductive.

He has an incredible sense of humor. There’s never a dull moment with him. He has his own way of telling stories. Every time he starts a story with “ces imbeciles…” I know it’s going to be a good story (hehe). He’s one of the funniest people I know. He makes me laugh in a way that no one else can. He has taught me how to laugh, how to laugh at others, how to laugh at myself and how to laugh at him (I’m even laughing as I’m typing this).

Look how skinny you are.

Me? No, you haven’t seen a skinnier person.

Haha. There’s no such a person. You know, one day the wind will blow you away.

Don’t worry, I carry stones in my handbag.
And he gives me this look, shakes his head and laughs.
Or when he sees my pants on the clothesline and jokes about them.

So do your legs really fit in here or it’s your arms?

I laugh.

And who’s shorts are these?

Mine.

He looks at me, acts surprised

I thought they were Ivan’s

(Ivan is the neighbor’s 3 years old boy).

How can I not love this man? The man who thinks my shorts are for an infant. The man who jokes telling me “sha uzi ko wanze gukura?!” He’s always teasing me about my weight and (tiny) clothes.
I love the face he makes whenever I tell him about Senderi (yes, whenever Senderi hits the news I’ve to tell him, and I get a good laugh).

Having him has probably shaped me in more ways than I’m even aware of. With him, I fear nothing. Nothing can harm me. With him, I’m protected. I always feel safe around him, I feel not even lightning can strike me when he’s with me. Hehe. To my eyes, he’s invincible. I love him for numerous reasons. He is a loving, thoughtful, supportive, faithful, and humorous man.

I come from school, tired and hungry. My eyes are almost falling into their sockets. I’m trying to fend off doziness. I look like a wilted plant. I zombie into the compound and he immediately sees my fatigue. I greet him, he looks at me and laughs. He laughs at how crappy I look. I drag myself inside (the house) and he comes after me. I drop my bag and sit at the dining table. He sets the table and brings me food. Something he doesn’t do for anyone, not even his wife. As I’m eating he asks me about my day. He wants to know every single detail (yes, he always asks about how the day went when you’ve spent it away).

He’s always listened to me. That’s a reason I love him even more. He lends an ear to my meaningless blabber. Some years back, when I was a silly and innocent girl, I was a victim of a scam. Three girls e-mailed me, at the same time. Girl 1 was in the US, told me how she was interested in me after viewing my profile *rolls eyes*, said her mother worked for the US Refugee Agency and would help me to get in the US to be with her (this last part made me very uncomfortable). Girl 2 was in Canada, told me she worked for an NGO and would help me find a job in the NGO. Both had something in common: they asked me to find 9 other people (we had to form a group of 10 people) and to pay some visa processing fee (200$ if I remember well). Whenever they mentioned the money, I would back out immediately! Hehe. Girl 3 was from Liberia. This one almost got me. She told me her parents had been killed in the war and she was in a refugee camp in Senegal. She told me that her father (who was a politician) had left her a large sum of money in a bank in the UK, but she couldn’t access the money since she was in a refugee camp. She asked me to help her leave Senegal (and move to Rwanda). Well, it was pretty simple. She emailed me the bank manager’s contacts, told me to contact him about transferring the money into an account here. Then I would use the money to help her re-locate here. I’d an aunt who was working for the UNHCR and thought I would talk to her to help the girl. See, it was simple. Haha. The most interesting part: she told me that she would give me a percentage of her money. I did the calculations and it was a whopping 500 million Rwandan francs! Whaaaat! My heart pooped its pants! I ran and told him that I was going to make him rich! I was going to buy him a car and renovate his house. And take him on a vacation (with his wife of course). He laughed and listened to my blabber. He knew it was a scam but he never said a word. He wanted me to find it out on my own. Soon enough, I did. I lost my 500M Rwf and we had a good laugh.

I’ve realized that I’m a really hard person to get to know. And very few people know that. I’m shy and I don’t talk much. But he knows me. He knows that I’m a quiet girl. He knows that when I get emotional, I turn into jelly and can’t talk (yeah, I’ve a hard time making words come out of my mouth). I communicate via messages/writing letters. Few times I’ve wrote him letters (when something’s troubling me) and he’s read all of them, no matter how long they were. And he still keeps them. Then he comes and talks to me about the matter in question and we solve it.

Through good or bad, he’s stood by me and still does. He makes me feel loved, no matter what. He is the someone-you-can-turn-to type. Even through my darkest hours, at my very worst (2011) he still loves me. He’s the one man whose love I’ve never doubted, not even a single second of my life.
He isn’t verbal, neither am I. He doesn’t tell me he loves me and I’ve never told him so. I know he loves me simply because he does. I just know and he knows too. And that’s it. I feel the love and care. That’s the way we do our thing. The emotions cannot be accurately described by words. There’s a connection. A bond deeper than visible to one’s eyes.
I couldn’t have asked for better. He’s not perfect (who is?) and he has his faults, his struggles, and his weaknesses. But I fail to see anything about him that isn’t perfect. If asked to choose, I would choose him over and over again.

He is one of my weakest spots. He makes me vulnerable. I thank God that he’s alive but I’m afraid of the day he’ll die. I don’t want him to suffer at all. Death is inevitable, but thinking that one day he’ll pass on sends shivers down my spine. It freezes me in paralyzing fear. Fear of losing the man who sincerely loves me. Fear of losing my best friend. Fear of losing this unmatched unconditional love. Fear of living without him. I dread the day he’ll break my heart. I hope he lives long enough to buy him that car.

I’ll never cease to love him even if he becomes mentally incapable of recognizing me tomorrow. Nothing ever will stop me. Not even death.
I’m thankful to God today for giving me the father that He did.

Enough said. Happy Father’s Day, Bayijahe.

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“Why are you so quiet?”

I have been told these words countless times. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that I should be more talkative with people, in general. To be more expressive. I usually smile but inside, I’m secretly screaming! Those words are always fingernails across the chalkboard. I can’t think of a way to be more expressive. I am expressive even in the way I breath. However, being expressive has nothing to do with face-to-face talking. There are greats ways of communicating which don’t have to do with conversing with other people. I am in a season of my life right now where I feel frustrated beyond endurance almost all of the time, for always explaining to people that being silent doesn’t mean that I’m angry or anything negative.
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I’m probably just busy helping the Winchesters hunt the monsters (in my head). As the saying goes, quiet people have the loudest minds, I always have something on my mind. Because every single minute I am thinking and analyzing all sorts of things.

Once a friend told me that I’m very strange, that sometimes I’m as silly as a two-year-old and other times I’m as boring as her grandmother. I seem weird to most people.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being quiet (read: an introvert). However, there is everything wrong with trying to turn introverts into extroverts. I am an introvert and I love being that way. I enjoy being on my own. It’s a unique part of my personality.

When people first meet me, they assume that I’m the same around strangers as I am with close friends. If I’m quiet, they assume that I’m always quiet. If I’m sociable and engaging, they think that I’m always like that. Three people could meet me at three different times and walk away with an impression of three different people. When I find myself in a group of people, I turn into a silent observer. I be sitting there not saying much, not really adding anything to the conversation. I stay quiet and listen. Large groups of people are not my thing. Then there’s always that one person that just has to point out how quiet I am. And they think that I’m stuck up. I’m that awkward girl that doesn’t know what to say sometimes. The thing about these people that I’ll never understand is why they can’t seem to understand that we people exist. People that just do not have the talent of conversing easily with people they have never met before. When it’s with people I’m close to, I can give a full hour speech without even getting close to the introduction. Only the conditions have to be right.

I have tons of acquaintances but only a handful of people who I’d actually consider close friends. Those whom I only need to stand silently next to me when I’m embattled with loss. Those who don’t alter my personality but enhance all of the great parts of me (hello Vicki). Those who never make me feel any different than who I really am. Those who make hanging out with them feel like the most comfortable thing ever (Tante Kler, I see you). Those who come to my rescue and do the talking for me (I salute you, Jaz). They are few, but that’s really all I need. These are the people who have reached to a point where they personally know me. They know that although I’m not party-loving or don’t like social gatherings, I can be relied on for anything, anytime, anywhere. They know that I’m friendly in person. I remember things that matter to them and anticipate how they might be feeling before they even tell me. And I’m such a bad friend when it comes to communication, like if you don’t try to contact me, you won’t hear from me for months. So, people I can go months without contact with and that’s ok, make the best friends for me.

It’s not that I don’t like people, I only don’t like the usual ways of socializing. Small talk exhausts me. I just don’t talk unless I’ve something to say. And I have thought about jumping out a window to end a conversation. I’m against the usual rules of society. I don’t like parties or doing large groups activities. I like other ways of getting along with people. Ways that most people consider weird or unusual. I don’t speak much in words. I’m not good at talking because I just have difficulty forming words and making them come out of my mouth. I prefer nonverbal communication: texting, emails, social media (thank you technology!).

Seriously though. If someone would give me the option to stay at home reading an interesting book or going out to a huge party, I would definitely stay with the book. When people think of a good way to spend their time, they think of going out. I think of staying home all day, watching movies, cook something to eat, write and sleep. I like to be alone (it’s my preferred mode almost all the time) more than I like to be in large groups of people. Spending time in large groups of people is draining and sometimes even frustrating. I find outside stimulation to be unpleasant.

I am, basically, like every other happy person. Yes, I can talk. And if you want to talk to me, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.