As I sat on the chaise in my bedroom trying to figure out which clothes to pack for my long saved for and much anticipated trip I couldn’t help but notice that most of the clothes I was trying to fold (read rolling up in a bundle and shoving into my suitcase) were all size 10s and Mediums! Wait a long minute! Size 10? For the longest time I could remember caring I was a size 8! A petite yet curvy size 8! “Somebody must have been sneaking into my home and shortening the waist in my pants and while at it changing the size tags on my clothes too!”I thought to myself. “Who d oes that to people?” And then I remembered that it was not 2010 anymore. Time really had flown by and with it body sizes changed too. I had become so engrossed living life that I forgot to notice some things.
With a nostalgic smile on my face, my mind went back to 2010 and I saw the 25 year old Maureen. I remember thinking how amazing the gods had been to me. Two months post graduation and I had landed an internship with one of the companies most people only dream of working for. On my face were these same old big eyes, only they were way innocent than the current pair of big eyes sitting on my face. Mixed emotions ran through my mind. At first I felt pressure, and then it was gratitude and then it was thinking about what the future held and then it was celebrating a major milestone!…I was now a working girl! Heeeey! I remember promising myself to work my ass off and make sure the internship turned into a permanent job. I also remember promising to save as much money as possible to make my 2015 birthday one I will not forget in a long time.
I really didn’t know what I would do to make this special birthday grand but after toying with several ideas I decided that I would take a trip to some island I have not been to yet and one whose pictures I’ve been drooling over on the net and yearning for after watching those CNN ads. After doing calculations based on the not-so-near-future I knew that I would need a boat load of cash and that led to me making a very drastic change in my lifestyle.
There would be no more weekday lunches. Coffee, brunch and dinner dates would be limited. Besides, I could always brew a nasty cuppa at home. Clubbing became a rumor unless the occasion really mattered. Cinema dates were also cut down and much later driving to work every day became quite unnecessary. Besides, that 400m walk to the bus stop most mornings counts as a work out. Years later I also did away with my cleaning lady and her cleaning services and instead settled for cleaning my own house.
One day my boss found me seated at my desk during lunch hour and asked me why I never went out for lunch. “Aren’t you going to get skinnier?” “Lunch is not my thing.” I had responded with a coy smile.
Another time a colleague came to me and said “You must be a very rich girl.” “I wish! But why do you say so?” I asked innocently. “You never go for lunch, so you must have saved a lot of money by now.” I contemplated furnishing him with my reasons but decided against it. Instead I just shrugged my shoulders and laughed. By this time I had discovered that eating food in the morning was the answer. This way, my blood sugar would remain stable for most of the day and at around 2.30pm I would have a bowl of fruit salad and then upon getting home I would wolf down a massive plate of whatever food I could get on my plate. It made so much sense to me. This remains my routine to date.
5 years later, I was finally dragging my luggage to the taxi that was waiting for me at the gate. One of my dreams was about to be realized! On my way to the airport the cab guy commented on the glow in my eyes. I smiled in response and looked outside the window as I reflected on the last 5 years and then the last couple of days when I had celebrated my birthday. The party had been a success considering I have never had a party before and I would not easily allow a full-blown party in my house. Maybe at gunpoint. I giggled at the thought of me freaking out and almost cancelling the party at the last minute because I’m just not about that life of cleaning up messes created by a turned up party.
The party had gone down so well. I didn’t scream at anyone for spilling anything or for misbehaving. Not even once! And I was all smiles, grateful and very satisfied with how everything had gone down. No more parties in my house in the near future though.
Everything about my trip was a dream! It made me come to several realizations. On my final day at the island I flip-flopped my way to the beach very early in the morning and was overcome by a mixture of feelings. In fact what I felt I cannot describe fully in words. I felt relief. I felt humbled. I felt happy. I felt present and all of a sudden there was salty water running down my cheeks. For a moment I thought my face was leaking because I was certain I wasn’t crying.I had no reason to. Then I realized that that was my body’s way of showing me that I had achieved inner peace. There and then I decided to forgive.
I forgave the little girl who almost took away all my self confidence those very many years ago by refusing to hold my hand as we made a big, big circle at P.E lesson because of the scalp condition I had.
I forgave the cleaning lady. I had ended our almost 3-year relationship. This is after she had decided that nicking my stuff and money was the best way to repay me for being extra kind to her and this was after taking our relationship to the next level…She had a key to my house! My safe haven! I had even trusted her to pack my suitcase whenever I had to travel. That’s how strong our relationship had gotten. On the bright side though, doing my own house chores really helps tone my muscles and besides, now I always know exactly where everything is. I forgave her.
I forgave that guy who tried to bully me by behaving like a malicious woman and spreading lies about me and trying to ward people off me. I realized that he was just unleashing his personal insecurities on me and it had nothing to do with me. And since I was feeling generous in my forgiving spree state, I made a wish for him. I wished him breasts! I decided that since he behaved like a hateful woman, a pair of breasts would befit him. So dear guy, have some working mammary glands on me!
I forgave that ex boyfriend who ruined and changed the meaning of “Love “for me.
But most importantly I forgave myself
I forgave myself for allowing myself to hold on to grudges for longer than necessary.
I forgave myself for keeping quiet when I should speak up.
I forgave myself for being an escapist.
I forgave myself for being afraid to ask for help when stuck.
I forgave myself for being afraid of confrontations.
I forgave myself for being afraid of being judged.
You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone — profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are. – Danielle LaPorte
I forgave myself for clinging so hard on to the past.
I forgave myself for selling myself short.
I realized my purpose in life.
I realized why I am exactly the way I am.
I realized that nobody sneaked into my home to shrink my clothes. It has been my love for white carbohydrates and wine and then sitting down and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls for hours on end to blame for my expanded waistline all this time. Ooops!
I realized that with time, I had grown not only in size but my wisdom capacity had expanded too.
I realized the importance of one minute, of one hour, of one day, one week, one month, one year…
And then I finally understood
I understood why that trip had had to happen.
I understood why I am alive.
I understood why everyday wasted not being happy or not living towards your dreams is a day wasted!
And with that understanding I made some really important decisions that will affect my future and I vowed to see those decisions through.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs
I had been lost in thought for a few hours now by the beachfront. I opened a bottle I had filled up with sand upon my arrival at the beautiful island, emptied it and watched as the sand particles flew in every direction. It was time to say goodbye to what had been my utopia for 4 wonderful, warm days. The sun was now up and the humidity was starting to piss off my weave… I knew it was time to go home.
It had not been easy getting there but it was well worth it! Now to plan for a grander 2020 vacation!