By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda:
They say 22 is a lucky number, oh well. I meant, I say, or rather I used to say. See it has been a long 21 years of reinventing myself and telling myself I wanted to be this or that, never what I actually was. I guess it is I to blame for the brainwashing. No one else had that much control over my psyche so the ideas and clichés in there are my entire fault.
I don't remember when exactly I started this fantasy of true love and how there is a soul mate out there for every one of us. I certainly am starting to regret sowing those seeds in my pliable brain because now they have taken root and just won't wither. This whole 'he is the one' business is wearing me out. The one who did what? Hurt me, that's the one. Or the one who had me convinced we were special and made in some other universe and fate was setting us up.
I remember dreaming and believing and going along for the rollercoaster ride only to realize that at the end of the day it brought me back to exactly where we started; the beginning which ironically is the end. Where you don't know who that is and why you can't seem to stay away from them and what they mean to you.
I kind of regret going all in for this one because it seems I missed all the signs that were screaming out for me to let go. Those signs we so hopelessly try to ignore when we desperately want something to work. The excuses we make when he doesn't call or show up to a date, when he takes you for granted; all the things you swore you would never let someone do to you.
The thing is that we compromise when we want something badly but at the end of the day you compromise your values and needs and end up settling for much less than you ever wanted. And then you realize maybe you said yes a little too many times and no a little less often than you should have. Maybe you became someone you never thought you would be in trying to become someone you desperately thought you should be.
Maybe, maybe not. Should have, could have, didn't. Didn't know, didn't care. Life has become little more than strings of words that mean more or less than they should, dripping with regrets and hope that someday you will find that elusive person you want to be.
I thought at 22 I had it all, instead I have to reinvent myself yet again, to realize I don't need someone to complete me. I have 100 different unique things about me, fascinating and fulfilling if only I take the time to discover what I want to be.
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