When I was in the sixth grade, I was madly deeply in love with a boy. (Please save the ” you were too young lecture”, I’ve had enough of it). Unfortunately for me though, this young boy that I was crazy about wasn’t as in love with me as I was with him. He had a female best friend and he loved her more than he loved me. As life or fate or karma or whatever you believe in would have it, the best friend did not love him back hence my being able to claim his heart as mine although the honest truth was it never was mine and never would be mine until and unless she had vacated its premises.I was the unfortunate second choice. I knew it but this knowledge did not keep me from hoping. Hoping that one-day my love would be reciprocated. 

It’s been over 10 years since that period of time in my life. Since my heart stood still for what seemed like eternity as I read his breakup letter during mid morning break time. I can still remember how breathless I became and the frantic expression on my best friend Nomthie’s face as she tried to console me. It’s been a lifetime but still that memory has been kept carefully preserved and I believe it will be – for a lifetime. 

I still sometimes wonder if my life would have turned out differently had I been my first love’s first choice. Would I have made the disastrous relationship mistakes that I’ve made for almost all my adult life or would I have been more wise in my decision making. Did my first encounter with love, rob me of my pride, dignity and self worth to such an extent that I continuously gave too much of myself in relationships as compensation for my shortcomings so that I could be my partners first choice? Maybe, maybe not. 

What I’m sure of though as I thankfully say goodbye to my 21st year and hello to my 22nd year here on earth is that I’m thankful for every single heartbreak and every tear shed at the end of every happy ever after. In as much as I regret most happenings in my life, I am thankful for the lessons that I have harvested from them. Hence now I am able to look at my 22 year old self and give her advice borrowed from my younger self. 

When the 22 year old me seeks to find pleasure and completion in another human being, I will be able to caution her against such folly. I will explain to her that no man can give her what she hasn’t already given herself. I will tell her to love herself first, encourage her to know herself in and out, to know which buttons turn her on, which ones make herself laugh and giggle and which ones should absolutely never ever be tempered with. Only then, when she is complete in herself and comfortable in her own presence would she be able to find a match in a man. 

When she sees her friends seemingly moving on with life at a much faster rate than she is – getting married, building homes, families and careers. I will tell her not to feel scared or intimidated but to be proud of them and to share in their joy. I would remind her that our lives are like different movie genres, with different plot lines and different paces but all movies nonetheless. I would tell her to sit back,relax and write her script for her and not the world. 

Lastly, I would tell 22 year old Tanya aka Ty’ra Vanadis that she only has one life to live and she had better make the most of it. Death might come at any time, but it’s never too soon to those who used their every second the way they should have –as if it were their very last second alive.