If life had a manual.
Taffy Mazhara | @thelionesstaffy
If life had a manual, the first thing I would ask for would be a guide for this thing that is misunderstood by many but understood by a few, love. Yes, I said it, love. It’s been a
pretty good 20 years of my life and I have learned the hardest lessons that have really brought out the best of me. I remember being in love or should I say having my first crush at age 13. Fresh out of the primary, new in high school, and living in a fantasy I created. I had everything planned out and every moment felt like heaven. I started dating later on as I finished high school and carried on to University, though we were in separate countries, I mean continents. The butterflies were still there, long calls and messages with every word striking a pose.
My life revolved around him. He was all I knew and I always imagined being with him forever and ever. We were goals in many eyes and we loved life. Fast forward into reality. University had my head going crazy and I was loving it. Mind you, I never went on any outing with my friends back home, I repeat NEVER. Here I was, having all the freedom I waited 17 years for and it was right there, at my fingertips. No parents, no familiar faces with the exception of 2 people I knew. I had many plans, clubbing was definitely number one, followed by house parties. Church was totally out of the list. I wanted to be wild, live carefree and planned to get a tattoo. I had a chance to start my life over, to be who I wanted with no one tapping my shoulder and slowing me down. I made a few friends, had my first ear piercing, I was just getting started. Top it off with a purple mohawk and life was exquisite. My adrenaline was consistently high and I thought I finally found a place that I fit in. Academically, I’m doing okay, but I planned to change programs because I was so confused if I was even doing the right program, but after so much conviction, I let it be.
Relationship wise, I was killing it, until my eyes started falling on some new grounds. They seemed safe from afar, dinner dates, chats, walks, and all that lovely Dovey stuff. I finally found someone to share my experiences, deepest fears, visions, and joy. It all seemed picture-perfect, we were happy and life was great. As the semesters progressed, I found myself in several relationships, or should I say situationships. I lost myself, thinking I would find true happiness as long as I had the new guy, Jason next to me. I tried to be positive through a happy demeanor but deep down I knew I was still sad. I had set standards and nearly broke all of them out of desperation. I wanted to be seen as cool by people who now I know didn’t care about me.
The truth hurts, I had to face it, I was broken. It was ugly, and I was still dating my so- called Highschool sweetheart, Timothy. I was in a mess. I had been lying, cheating, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had been intoxicated with guilt and shame, now I was blotted. One morning as I was talking to Timothy, I decided to spill the whole truth, I had meditated about it for a few months and I thought I was ready to move on. It had been so easy with Jason. I could hear the birds chirping, my heart racing, as I played a soft, worship instrumental to soothe the pain. Like the dying minutes of a football match, anything can happen. Well, I could feel my relationship dying.
With every word, we slowly drifted away and it could no longer be an us. We were left just being by ourselves once again. The pain was that of a dagger, I cried more tears than I did at my father’s funeral. I knew I had messed up, I was heartless and all I could do is slam my hands to the wall and wonder how did I walk into this valley of the shadow of death? As weeks went by I had to announce to close friends and family the news but despite their comforting words, they couldn’t penetrate into the brick wall I had built around my heart. I became bitter, I hated myself and the thought of suicide roamed around me. Life felt like it was at a halt. My academics dropped drastically, I was starting to look like a stick and my African buttocks faded away. My spiritual life declined and my friendships were on thin ice.
I started off by saying I wish life had a guide for a thing called LOVE. I went on a journey of self-discovery when I admitted I wasn’t okay. I went on a journey of brokenness to wholeness. As I share my story, I want you to understand to love yourself first, admire yourself, know your worth, and have character. With the bits of my story I left out, I want you to fill in the gaps with making the right decisions, and when you see yourself walking into the valley of the shadow of death, close your eyes, take a deep breathe and walk back and if you are in it already walkout. If you gotta run, run as far as you can and allow yourself to pave a path of greatness. A life filled with life lessons and guilt-free, a life that one day when you’re old you will sit on your favorite rocking chair and tell the story of how you choose to redefine every step and every thought. You will share how you walked boldly despite the judgment you encountered along the way. You will tell your story boldly, with all the mixed emotions but joy and laughter will dominate. This experience inspired me to create a movement called Redefine Woman, moving from brokenness to wholeness. I hope my words can inspire someone out there leaving you with peace, joy, and happiness.
Edited by Ruth Baker