Notes on being Nineteen

It is 03:30 AM. The birds are chirping away outside. Nature’s little sirens, they are, constantly alerting us to the fact that we are alive. Does that even make sense? It’s 03:30 AM right now, did I mention? Okay, glad we’ve cleared that bit up. I’m nineteen years old right now. 

There are many things I have come to understand within this time. Subhan-Allah, I have been blessed with understanding. And there is so much that deeply confuses me; that remains a complete and utter mystery to me. Subhan-Allah, though, I have also been blessed with a hungry sense of curiosity.

Nineteen years old. I was nineteen months old, once. Now I am bigger than I was. I know that human beings are formidable things. The process of growth, both physical and mental, is so very fascinating.

I look at my hands. They’re a bit dry at the moment: coronavirus year and all. This has proven to have been a very strange time indeed – both on a personal level, and then, with the outbreak of this virus, on a truly international scale.

Things are fragile and uncertain. But where things are uncertain, there is room for much growth and beauty. This article probably doesn’t, and won’t, make much sense at all. But thus is the nature of life right now. Winding, confusing, dark, light, twisted, bright. But at least there is something here. All feelings, whether good or bad, are substantial and significant.

My teenage years, much like the moon, have been experienced in phases. I have met many versions of myself over this time. Now is the time to commit to being truly fullI am never going to be this young again. I am going to die one day: maybe my grave has already been dug for me. Maybe the white shrouds have already been prepared. Maybe some people don’t like some parts of me; who I am. These facts do not terrify me anymore. I never want to miss an opportunity to partake in goodness – in life, what is good for me – ever again. I never want to sacrifice anything of myself in order to create a veneer of being enviable or ‘cool’.

To be full does not mean to live a life devoid of mistakes and mishaps. These are part and parcel of the whole ‘fullness’ thing. But the full moon does not doubt himself… or… herself? Which gender should the moon be? I think he should be a man. Mr. Moon. The feminists would eat me alive if I were to say she is a woman, who devotedly encircles her husband, the Earth.

Man. For a fairly long time, things have been really hard. But even in the darkest of times, there were necessary sprinklings of light. I’ve met so many awesome people, and have had so many tremendous conversations, learnt many things that it is now morally incumbent on me to not deprive my adult self of. There’s enough beauty in the world, and in our fellow human beings, to at least make the darkness a little less overwhelming.

Does the idea of being alive terrify you? I bet the birds outside are indifferent to it all. I bet they don’t ask questions about their existences, or about the potential gender identity of the moon. I think I am drunk on coffee right now, and on the fact that I am nineteen years old, and here I am. Alive, still. Anticipating life really changing, again, in a matter of six months…

Here I am, with an identity, that Subhan-Allah, is mine. A face that nobody else has. A way of doing things – and of thinking and of being – that I can sincerely appreciate and share with the people who are on this journey with me. Thank you for being here.

My destiny is in my own hands. How dare I ever have doubted myself? Once, in 2015, in a little restaurant in Switzerland, I picked up a leaflet whose front part read, “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” The accompanying article was in French, so I didn’t quite understand it. But maybe the titular idea is true. We do things; are presented with options as a result of the outcomes of our decisions. We continue to exist in this way – as grand deciders. There are no mistakes. We should not fear. To be human is to have flaws, so by making ‘mistakes’ we are being perfectly what we are meant to be. ‘Mistakes’ are nullified by this fact, surely?

A life devoid of the stuff we cannot predict would turn out to be a very boring life indeed. Humans need problems in order to do that thing we really enjoy and excel at: problem-solving. 

Know that you are doing just fine, dear reader. Thank you for reading this. I’m Muslim so I don’t drink, and the only sort of ‘weed’ I think about are the ones in my garden. I’m just overly caffeinated tonight (to-morning) and I’m feeling quite hopeful, Subhan-Allah. Intoxicated with the idea that things are good, and I do not care if this fact earns the approval of others or not. I am now ‘me’ enough to grant this entire nameless project my own stamp of approval.

I feel like this is exactly where I was meant to find myself. Like something is about to happen. My…Spidey senses…(?) are tingling. My curiosity is heightened. I feel myself propelled by all the knowledge I have gained, thus far, and I am being pulled, I think, towards an unknown that I must now meet.

It will not do to busy myself with useless things or ways of thinking. Value does not depend on quantity, nor on popular approval. My goal is not to be the most widely liked. Nor the most externally successful. I exist in my own mind; this place must become the most beautiful place I can make it. People can be fickle: they may claim to know me; may like me one day; may choose not to like me the next. I choose to be indifferent to all of it.

I yearn to be such a woman that nothing at all can disturb my peace.

Man, I really thought writing this entry would make me feel sleepy. But I feel quite the opposite. And this is certainly not a summary of what being nineteen years old feels like. It is something quite unexpected and strange, but it’s also rather beautiful. Thus is life! [This is how to be fake-deep but in an enticing way: find a way to compare everything to the human experience of life itself. Speak fairly eloquently, and make nonsense sound like it knows exactly what it is talking about…]


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