November is upon us. I thought of making one of those lists that are so popular with my friends’ list on a social site – twenty-five things you have done by twenty-five. I looked at those lists and realised I had done most of that by sixteen. So I am going to do something else.
Hi to the little girl who liked her uncle’s workshop. Don’t worry, because you’ll get to do this again in labs with robots instead of tea-packing machines, for little pay for a very long time, until you decide it isn’t worth the poverty and the arse-licking required in academia and walk out hoping desperately that you’ll get to do it again for a bit more pay. You’ll walk through hell, but you’ll get to do it again.
Hi to the girl who liked writing opinion pieces and little stories. Don’t bother hiding them from everyone, because you’ll be doing that with happiness and pride one day.
Hi to the girl who was bullied so much that she kept notes of everyone who did that to her and swore that she’d one day be better than all of them. Don’t weep, because you weren’t required to prove yourself better, only to stay yourself.
Hi to the girl who despised family drama and went through a great deal of it, yet still fought hard to get their recognition. You’ll one day discover Ecclesiastes and let go.
Hi to the girl who was so afraid of not being able to love. Don’t be afraid, because you’ll be taught well by a hyacinth.
Hi to the girl who was wary of men and all that they could do (because of what she had seen them do). Don’t be prejudiced, because you’ll meet good men, men you didn’t know could exist.
Hi to the girl who wrote off all families. Don’t be hasty, because you’ll see Sibelius’s family, and come to believe that good families aren’t a fictional invention.
Hi to the girl who was so afraid of poverty. Don’t be afraid to buy that five-star from the hostel snack-store, because you’ll blow it all away on your daily coffee a few years later.
Hi to the girl who was bullied over sexuality. I can’t tell you how proud of you I am, because you loved the best, and that smug, reckless love of yours has built most of my best memories.
Hi to the girl who was afraid of loss. I wish I could hug you and tell you that you’ll learn to deal with death though not very easily or gracefully.
Hi to the girl who thought that she had inherited neither the good looks nor the virtues of her family, while managing to get the worst of all her bloodlines. Don’t worry too much, because you’ll make mistakes nobody in your family yet has, and isn’t that original? Don’t worry too much, because you’ll have enough interests of your own that take you away from the old ways.
Hi to the girl who was terrified by shopping. Don’t be frightened. Amazon will save you.
Hi to the girl who was so confused at each and every stage of her life when she ended up taking a path that not many others did. Don’t fret. You’ll one day learn to take it as the norm of your life, and even find pleasure in it.
Hi to the girl who spoke up against all kinds of discrimination (starting with defending St. Joseph to all the fervent St. Mary worshippers). Practise well. You’ll be doing that for a long time to come.
Hi to the girl who thought that friendships were too shallow. I am afraid I don’t have anything nice to tell you. You’ll grow up, more and more disillusioned by shallow friendships, until you no longer bother to make the effort.
Hi to the girl who thought she’d become more forgiving with time. You won’t become more forgiving. If anything, life will have taught you enough lessons with the years to not forgive. You’ll move on with your life, as best as you can, and when someone whispers “Babylon” in your ear, you’ll remember all that you can’t forgive.
Hi to the girl who rebelled a lot against the societal notions of what women should be like. It will work out. They’ll give up on you, you’ll give up on them, and everyone will be happier.
Hi to the girl who wept from loneliness on so many nights. Hold on. It will take years, but you’ll meet people who’ll try very hard to make you forget all that. It is going to take you a very long time to be convinced of their sincerity. You’ll get there, eventually.
Hi to the girl who wished she had been born a male. I am afraid you’ll wish that a lot as you go through life. You’ll wish it fervently sometimes. You’ll wish it less frequently, perhaps, in the distant future.
Hi to the girl who thought that there would one and only true love, as the song goes. You’ll learn that you have yet a lot to learn, and you’ll learn that there are so many ways to love. You’ll never forget what made you blossom from the lonely, little wretch you were into a harp that sang a single Hallelujah. You’ll walk on, though, to play the Elder Scrolls and laugh a lot under the steel-grey skies of Newark. You’ll keep walking, under the fall awning of Emory, and rediscover beauty in life. You’ll then cave in, with all the grace of a bird on a wire, and sing a new Hallelujah.