I started the day as usual, woke up on my side of the bed, prayed, greeted my parents and grumbled through my chores, all as usual.
Except something exceptional was going to happen that day … my best crush was paying me a visit. And while we were like friends and all, it was always a thrill to have him around.
Before any of you “maturity critics” start on me, let me just mention that I was in secondary school and attended an only girls’ school, so I believe I was allowed a little crush now and again.
And my first visit was going to be from my numero uno, the break couldn’t have started on a better note.
I thought it great though that Tayo never found out how I felt about him up until I got over him; imagine the horror, unrequited love in addition to lacking the secrecy of it, that would have been too much for my fragile and so in love heart.
However, Tayo finally came to his senses but by the time he realized I was the one for him, I had moved on to Uncle Tunde, our choir master. I could hardly still be pining for immature boys at that stage, I had grown and Tayo just did not make the cut anymore.
And it is so not my fault he is still crazy about me – not to boast or anything – but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.
Anyways, at this particular time, he was the first on my list of potential husbands, above Tyler Perry and Brad Pitt, he was that big of a deal in my 14 year old heart.
When he finally got to my place on this beautiful day, magnanimous soul that I was, I felt it unfair to keep his daintiness all to myself and suggested we took a stroll.
Of course, it was not because I wanted Tope and Shade to see me with him, I would never do that. I knew they liked him too; he was the hottest boy in the block.
So I would never have leveraged on the fact that Tayo’s parents and mine were best friends and that gave me an edge, against them. I was willing to share. It was hardly my fault I went off to school and he missed spending time with yours truly.
We were slurping on ice cream and Tayo was regaling me with the latest scope when he suddenly stopped, “so uncle Tunde caught John trying to pass the love letter during Sunday school to….,”
I followed the direction of his eyes and saw some strange beauty standing with Tope and Shade just outside Malam Saleh’s provision store.
Only she wasn’t so strange, she was my arch rival, also known as Tope’s cousin, Bunmi. She thought to honour us with her presence once in a while and Tayo was tongue-tied around her every once in a while.
I couldn’t believe she could just breeze out of whatever hole she usually crawled out from to ruin my well-structured vacation. But as a good friend, I nudged him because at this point, he was stock-still, and told him to talk to her, who knows? She might like him too.
“Hmm! I have been thinking I should. And I have gotten bolder these days,” he replied solemnly.
That was so not what I was expecting him to say.
He should have said he wouldn’t be able to, this was so unfair, I had to fight for what was mine so I retorted, “No, don’t talk to her, I love you, have loved since I was 5. I fit you better, our parents are friends, and so are we, we are going to get married and make beautiful babies, I have it all planned out.”
At least that was what I should have said, but I remained mute while my heart bled.
Luckily for me, he didn’t think it urgent to talk to her at that moment so we waved at them and kept walking but my heart wasn’t in it any longer.
Bunmi had ruined it with her beautiful face, long legs and fine dentition.
Needless to say, my holiday did not turn out as I expected because much to my chagrin, Bunmi stayed longer this time and Tayo spent the time with or around her.
Fast forward to my next break, I summoned enough courage to ask Tayo about Bunmi as blandly as I could manage. With his sheepish smile that always stopped my heart, he said, “that isn’t going to work.”
*sigh of relief
*heart beat back to normal, had no idea it had been out of sync till that moment.
“Why?” I asked
“I don’t know, she did not seem as I expected, she made me uncomfortable, you know, every time I gave her a compliment, she said something to counter it. It was either her teeth were too large, her lips too wide, her hair not long enough or she was too thin. And when I stopped giving her compliments cause I thought she didn’t want them, she found a way to talk about it. I don’t know, I guess I want someone who is more… more…. Confident.”
While I don’t care much for Bunmi and call me selfish but I felt her loss was my gain, I couldn’t help thinking that she lost him even before finding him because she lacked confidence or what some of us call, self-esteem.
Either way, while Tayo was just a teenage boy and probably indecisive anyways, imagine Tayo as that dream job, vision, passion, dream girl/boy that you have carried around for years and when the opportunity finally presented itself that you should have grabbed, you find yourself retreating because before you even started, you have already imagined yourself failing.
There is nothing more disheartening than having so much inside of you that the world needs but would be deprived of because you were scared.
Fear and self-doubts are normal aspects of life and that is one thing you need to know, we all have them, without exception. You either learn to face it or you let it lord over you all your life.
That motivational speaker you saw on stage, he had to gulp down two bottles of water to be able to face the crowd, but he did it anyway.
While confidence cannot be learnt, it can be practiced and that is the mentality you and I should imbibe, look fear and self-doubts in the eyes and say to them, ‘I am beautiful, I am smart, I am intelligent, I am a success story, I will make impact in my world, I am going to make it’, then go out there and do it anyway.
If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for humanity, it needs you.