It is exactly 24 days before I officially make my way to adulthood – turn eighteen; an age that I have been looking forward to and have been dreading – both at the same time. I would be lying if I said that the 17 years that I have existed for were uneventful. They were a whirlwind. Unlike most, I do not regret falling in love at such a young age. I do not regret the pain post the heartbreak. I do not regret hunting people, or being hunted myself.
But the things I do regret are the ones I haven’t done. I regret not having finished the novel I had started when I was 12, or the one when I was 14 or when I was 16. I regret not having read all the books I could, not having written all the poems I had the urge to write. I should have painted all the colours I saw, and captured every moment I was sure I wanted to relive when I turned eighty.
So, at 17 years and 342 days, after having had my fair share of highs and failures, heartbreaks and friendships, there are 18 things I have learnt; things i wished that I had known of earlier.
1) You shall forgive yourself for being reckless and putting yourself before anyone else. No one is going to watch your back for you.
2) Do not make diet pills your best friend. Instead, confer that honour upon your mother. Know something – both these have something in common. They are quite different than what they project themselves to be. (Please do not make me spell out what was actually intended here.)
3) Believe in your voice, and it will be heard. Do not succumb to people who would dismiss your opinions only because you are ‘just a kid’. Let me re-phrase. Speak loudly, speak confidently when you have something worthwhile to offer.
4) Your brain isn’t muddled with testosterone. Bring the ego a notch down.
5) The world would be a better place if we were taught to embrace the differences, instead of fearing them; if we were told to explore individuality, instead of shunning it.
6) Pain is a parasite that feeds on fear. The more you run away from it, the sooner it catches up. Write about it, sing along to your favourite rock band, take a shower until you feel it loosening its clutches on you; until you are clean again.
7) When you can’t find love, create it.
8) Black spells sexy. Black spells murderous silence and deafening screams all at once. It represents people who dare to be daunting and bold, unkempt and strange. Oh, and it is slimming.
9) It is very natural to want a lifelong friendship. But it is also very unhealthy to let a relationship drain you out and make you feel miserable. You will eventually have to stop making excuses for people. You will have to take your freezing heart from the shelf; you will have to reach high even if you don’t feel tall enough, and put it back in your dry and cracked chest.
10) Every detail, significant or otherwise, needs to be addressed. And later, prioritized. The paint on the fence matters.
11) Nothing is certain until it is in the past. Expectation obliterates inspiration.
12) Baby teeth are ugly, but retain the 5-year-old version of yourself that you, so carefully, disguise under your act of an 18-year-old.
13)The world needs more of hardcore feminists, just not fanatics. Learn more about sexual objectification and do not, I repeat, do not fall prey to it.
14) Putting yourself out there won’t lower your dignity. After all, someone needs to fuel the start of something you have always wanted to happen.
15) Karma is real. There are two kinds of people in this world – the ones who were relieved by the previous statement, and the ones who dreaded the sight of it. There will be people who will whisper quietly enough to let you think that it is not meant for you, but loudly enough so you feel like the smallest person in the room. It has got nothing to do with you. Some people are embedded with so much hatred that they latch onto other people to put it in.
16) Opportunities are brilliantly concealed as closed doors. So, knock until someone answers you.
17) This season, things will change. Do not go down without a fight.
18) You are only 18. You have a lifetime of bad decisions ahead of you. Let go of the boundaries.
P.S : I wasn’t raised to fall in love. I am a war zone. Blew out my candles, already and strapped on my heels. Here comes hell; I am a lady now.