When I was fourteen-years-old, I wanted to die at the age of eighteen. I was in a strange state of depression whereby I felt the void calling but as much I wanted to pick up the phone, I didn’t want to pick it up right then and there – you feel me?
So with the reasoning of a naive teenager -who thought she knew more about life than she actually did- I decided the call of the void would just have to be answered four years later. My justifications were simple- if not a little a poetic. I would use the time to achieve just enough to show the world that I had potential of being someone great if my ending had not been so tragic. I loathed myself a lot at fourteen, so I decided that if I couldn’t like myself I could at least become someone other people adored.
I mentally made all the plans about how I would navigate the rest of my short extraordinary life. I would write my first and only book which would be so excellent it would not only be the New York Time’s bestseller, but also snatch the Nobel Prize for Literature. I would be excelling in my third year of college, getting only distinctions and being such an outstanding student that lecturers would not know what to do with me. I would reinvent myself so amazingly well that every single life I touched would be in be so in awe of the extraordinary person I was.
Then at eighteen- at the very cusp of adulthood, I would die so unexpectedly the aftershock would remain with the world for years and years to come. People would wonder what could have happened if only I had more time. The ghost of me would plague them with what ifs and could haves. I would be immortalised.
I imagined I would be likened to a candle- bright, blue and brilliant with no likelihood of going out soon, only for an unforeseen gust of wind to come out of nowhere to snuff me out. I told you my reasons were poetic.
But beloved, there are just some things you simply cannot will into existence. Lo and behold, four years passed and spoiler alert, I did not die. I did not write my magnum opus either. I also did not have a hoard of adoring fans. I wasn’t even in my third year of college. I was actually still in my second because heaven-forbid my alma mater goes one semester without being rocked by a closure of some sort, (after God, the Public University of Malawi laughs when you make plans).
Outside the obvious, I was pretty much the same as I had been at fourteen. Except, I did not loathe myself and maybe it’s because for the best part of the past couple of years I stopped overthinking my own supposed greatness. I still didn’t like myself but at least I didn’t dislike the person I was becoming. I started seeing myself as someone tolerable at the least and so I decided to tweak my plans bit.
I completely abandoned all my delusions of mass grandeur because all they did was bring me anxiety and pressure me into setting dates of when would be the most appropriate time to kick the bucket. Instead I thought maybe it was high time I started doing things that would make me like myself because I was obviously not going anywhere anytime soon.
Another four years have passed and I am still not dead. I have not written that masterpiece to end all masterpieces, but I have written a few things that I am personally proud of. I did not get distinctions upon distinctions in college but I do have a credit on my degree which is still quite great. I do not have a multitude of adoring fans but I do have a cozy circle of friends and family that I know love me to bits as much I love them.
I have come to realise that there’s magic in the commonplace. I am not the bright, blue and brilliant candle flame I thought I would be at eighteen. I am just an ordinary twenty-two-year old trying to navigate this ordinary life. And yes, the void still calls sometimes but I do not feel very inclined to answer it at all. Beloved, my fourteen-year-old self would eat her face, because even though I do not entirely like myself, I am starting to.