Growing up, my favourite colour has seen phases. When I was 10, my favourite colour was yellow. It seemed I only had to choose between red, yellow, green and blue. It was black at a point, then coffee brown and then burgundy.
As I get older, it’s become almost a chore to assign favourites to the inanimate. I am learning to appreciate rather living people. I have favourite people. Not a favourite thing. Or favourite song. Or book. I have grown to appreciate that in a world of abundance, it’s hard to have a favourite anything.
I am twenty something now and my hairline already betrayed me. I love to keep the length of my hair as close to my scalp as possible. I still show my teeth in every picture I take. I still wear my heart loosely on my wrist and it’s no different than the first time I noticed at 18.
The day I turned 23, my best friend awakened me up from bed with a phone call. He spent the next quarter hour praying for me, wishing I had all the good things I deserved. My aunt called later in the day and she did same. Sometimes my mother forgets my birthday and more often than not, there’s nothing to really forgive her for. She’s as bad at remembering dates as I am at remembering the names of people. Last year, she remembered. Last year, when she called, before speaking, Awura and Owura sang for me, while I tried desperately to not tear up. I failed. There’s also Darkua, who is family and was the first girl I ever thought was beautiful. She’s the only one who has never forgotten my birthday. Sometimes I feel I am unworthy of all the love. Sometimes I am envious of the way they show they care in ways I never could.
I used to be in love with a girl who thought I was too phlegmatic. One who felt I was hard to love. And I wanted to tell her that I have a blueprint for my future in my mind. That once in a while, I try to imagine where I’ll be when I am thirty; that I try to imagine the faces of my children and I try to place Awura’s eyes and Owura’s smile on them. I wanted to tell her it’s usually a constant blur. And sometimes this scares me. I wanted to tell her that sometimes you don’t have to leave to feel gone. And I feel this way at times.
But I remain full of gratitude for the opportunity to learn something new everyday. I am still learning to rinse these fears in water daily. I teach myself daily how to love better. I am learning that it’s okay to feel like drowning in one’s inadequacies. I am re-learning the habit of finding God in them. A new year and I will continue to teach myself to want me a little more each day; to constantly remind myself that I am deserving of wherever space I find myself.
Happy birthday, Kofi.