Admittedly, the title of this post is misleading considering this post is about an older, kinder version of myself. But, I think we should all start considering former versions of our own selves as old friends as opposed to this unreachable being that no longer exists because it does, our old selves exist in us the same way memories of our old friends do and we really can’t keep denying it. (I’m sure you can tell this is more a message to my own self than anyone else to stop lamenting over what has passed and let it appropriately prop up my current and future self)
I don’t know how many of you know of this 365 day project that I did during 2016, but it was a truly incredible experience. I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking back on it, I was so much more forgiving of my own self (and those around me) and even welcomed love, in all its forms, into my life without hesitation. I know every year since leaving my teens has been formative, but I think 2016 really hit the nail in the head for me and made me realise that I have the capacity to live and grow in ways I never thought possible, and so I’d like to share the first month of daily messages from this project with you all (the entire year would have you here forever).
Before you go on reading, I want you to know that I have more love than you know for each and every single person who takes out a little time in their day to listen to the absolute waffle that I have to share. You have been integral to my growth as a person, whether I’ve actively expressed this to you or not, so thank you. I hope the following will find a place in your heart just like you have in mine.
Day 01: On some days you will realise just how many of your own candles you have blown out, and on those days you must remind yourself to light new ones. Do not under any circumstances try and reignite the light of fires come and passed for their lifetime has but a few short days. Light new ones and in their warmth follow your path home, wherever that may be. Don’t stop lighting your candles, lest you be consumed by the darkness of your own self.
Day 02: I think there comes a time in everyone’s life when they realise that they are not who they thought they’d be. They are arrogant. They are selfish. They are rude and they are small. But while all those things may be true, people often forget that they are light, they are love, they are life, and they are warmth. Life truly makes fools of us all, but that needn’t mean we be fools lacking self-respect. We are allowed to see the light in ourselves as well as the dark. We are allowed to see the parts of ourselves that allow us to understand the depth of humanity.
Day 03: While self-love is integral to growth, it is also important to take a step back sometimes and re-evaluate what it is that you are doing for yourself. Love isn’t always eating a tub of ice cream or staying in bed until noon. Sometimes it is forcing yourself to face reality for what it truly is and working up from there.
Day 04: She wasn’t changing the world with her presence. No, she was changing me. She, as she stood, plain and simple, was changing the very essence of my being. Creature made of clay, how could you have so much light to grow the flowers in me that were nearing extinction? Creature made of clay, surely you must have been born of some angelic descent, for this light is not one carried by man. O creature of clay, how many thanks do I give you – Nay! How many thanks am I to owe your Lord for your becoming? How many dues am I in debt for for the grace that came in your form? Creature made of clay, tell me, do you feel as touched by my soul as I am yours?
Day 05: You will feel less and less like yourself as days go by, but it is so important that you take a break for some radical self-care. Wash your bed covers with lots of fabric softener, wear new pyjamas, revisit your childhood, cook yourself a good meal, drink lots of water, and most of all, do all the things YOU need to do to remind yourself of home.
Day 06: When you must leave behind remnants of your old self to accommodate a better version of yourself, it is imperative that you do so with grace and dignity. Do not take shame in the things and people that you once knew, for it is their presence which aided in your growth. You are who you are today because of all things passed, but you are under no obligation to maintain an allegiance with said things. Give thanks, say a little prayer, and move forward.
Day 07: I have spent too long waiting for God to bring me my dreams that I didn’t realise He’s given me all the things I need to achieve them myself. It is naive to think that you will achieve everything in life through sheer luck and fate because it’s true, dreams really don’t work unless you do. In fact, nothing works until you do.
Day 08: There will come days when your soul feels too heavy to go on, and on those days you must put a pause on life to return home to your Lord for a little while. It is there where you will find the peace you so desperately seek in your own soul.
Day 09: I am constantly learning to be okay with who I am right now as opposed to the person I thought I was meant to be by this age.
Day 10: You have got to take yourself out on dates and spend some time with yourself, even if they are just study dates.
Day 11: I have found that happiness is only real for me when shared with loved ones.
Day 12: If you want to make something happen, you must dedicate yourself each day for it because once you see progress, I’m telling you kids, it is addictive.
Day 13: Sometimes a blast from the past is all you need to realise just how far you’ve come in life.
Day 14: Your mother will tell you it’s better to be the one hurting than the one hurting others, your heart will spill across the floor, you will be a mess, but despite it all, you must remain alive and ready to wrestle the next problem that comes your way because believe it or not, the things that threaten to destroy do not remain for long and it is only you that can get yourself through it all.
Day 15: Listen to me when I say this today, you deserve the love you keep trying to give to everyone else.
Day 16: If religion isn’t synonymous with humanity for you, I don’t think I can be friends with you, sorry.
Day 17: And kid, you’ve gotta stop convincing yourself that your version of God is the only one that exists. Humble yourself and learn about different versions of your Lord, for in it, you will find naught but peace.
Day 18: One of the few best birthday messages I received – “HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you the dear love of my life ❤ it hurts so much that I can’t be there with you right now but I expect double the celebrations when I am back. Thank you for living another year on this earth where you blessed me with that infinite kind of love and may we have many more lifetimes to come. Everyday you make me so proud to be your best friend, it’s my favourite role in the whole wide world. I love you habibti.”
Day 19: You should tell people how important they are to you. Not because they could leave at any moment, but because they’re here now, and it’s worth saying something.
Day 20: Find your little happy things in life and let them guide you when you’re not feeling so much like yourself.
Day 21: I very much doubt I will reach a day I find a love more profound and ferocious than that between my soul sisters.
Day 22: The people you love won’t always tell you they love you, sometimes they’ll show you in the little things like waking up at ghastly hours of a Sunday morning to pick up a birthday cake to wrap up a birthday week, or by bringing you a glass of water without having asked for it.
Day 23: Sometimes all you need is a careless day out with your loves to understand how much lighter your soul is now than it used to be.
Day 24: Sobremesa, literally “over the table”, has no precise English translation. Sobremesa is the leisurely time after we have finished eating, but before we get up from the table. Time spent in conversation, digesting, relaxing, enjoying. Certainly not rushing. Basically all the time that I spend with my soulmates.
Day 25: Listen, if you want crappy things to stop happening to you, you’ve gotta stop accepting the crap that’s given to you and demand so much more. You got this, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Day 26: Mother has always said, if you are of wealth, give, but if you are of none, give of your heart.
Day 27: This is your mid-day reminder to go and do that thing you’ve been avoiding all day/week/month/year. Also, drink some water while you’re at it. You’ll feel so much better in the long run.
Day 28: Remind yourself constantly that you deserve the type of friends who know both the good and bad in you but love you anyway. (to my own, thank you)
Day 29: Soulmates don’t necessarily set fire to your soul or shake you out of your comfort zone, sometimes they are the calm you so desperately need in a world of chaos.
Day 30: Your scars are visible stories of your resounding victories. Don’t let people put you down because of them.
Day 31: Find friends who are constantly inspiring you to strive for contentment instead of perfection and you’ll realise that that’s when the second part of your life really begins.