I Am Me, at Eighteen

Original Writing

Likes boost our self-confidence and naked pictures prove our love and desire for one another. We accept a love we think we deserve – perks of being a wallflower, no? Girls follow the intense beauty rituals of a wealthy, sickly sweet inspirational figure in an attempt to look good, no matter the cost. Boys will follow vigorous exercise rituals in an attempt to achieve that perfect body. But who defines ‘perfect’? There is no such thing as perfection and there is no stopping us once we reach our goal, because we are driven by obsession.

The art of communication is lost because we’re too busy looking at our phones instead of each other. Facial expressions are replaced by emojis. Love letters replaced by sexts. As our generation develops and progresses on, we lose the values and virtues of the previous ones, the ones we ought to hold most dear.

I miss being a child, do you know why? I didn’t know what pressure was. I didn’t have to look good for him or her. I didn’t have to adopt a certain character to fit in, nor did I have to conform to anyone or anything. The only stresses I experienced were deciding what game to play with my dolls that evening. Although I am incredibly proud of the person I’ve become, the writer I’ve become and, hopefully, the future poet I will become, I miss being in touch with my naivety and youthful happiness/negligence. Mental health issues were a myth to me. Love only existed in fairytales, and heartbreak was non-existent.

Growing up is tough, and I can admit that still, at the age of 18. But luckily I can also say that, at the age of 18, I have already made it. I have accomplished what I never thought possible.

I am exactly who I want to be. And I am not a product of my time or society’s offspring.

I am me. Anisah. 18. Somewhere between an artist and a writer. And a poet.

18 Things Learnt by 18

Original Writing

1. The world is your oyster. Travelling will teach you more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
2. You will fall in love too quickly and fall out of love too slowly. If love was easy, everyone would be falling and it wouldn’t be unique, terrifying, horrifying and beautifully life-changing.
3. The only way of knowing who your true friends are is by waiting to see if they stay. If they leave, they weren’t made for you and are an invaluable lesson for the future.
4. Standing in the middle of the street, gazing up at the sky, filled with contented sighs and happiness does not make you weird. In fact, do it more often – it centres you.
5. Reading books is the best way to explore the hidden depths of yourself. I once admired writers and their ability to spill thoughts, tears and fears onto paper and turn it into poetry and/or prose, now I am one of them. I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my extensive library of prized collections.
6. Read poetry. Even though I’m still young, I opened myself up to poetry and let it consume me. And I couldn’t be more in love with it.
7. Write letters. To friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives. Nothing says ‘I love you’ louder than in your own handwriting.
8. Listen to your elders. Their wisdom is so easily overlooked as a result of them getting older, less agile. But their wit and wisdom get progressively stronger and more valuable as we grow older.
9. Dance. Like there’s nobody watching. There’s nothing more liberating than expressing emotions through body movements.
10. The media is not your friend or ally. They will tell you what they want you to hear. They will not always tell you the whole truth. They will most likely be biased. Remain open-minded or else they will subtly and effectively manipulate you.
11. Size 0 does not exist. Underweight is not sexy, so eat your food. Don’t skip meals in order to control your weight as you’ll end up doing more harm than good. Smoothies don’t make you skinny. Chocolate is your friend.
12. Watch every sunset you possibly can. They will most likely either remind you of everything good in your life or remind you of someone.
13. Faith will empower you. Religious or not, having faith in someone or something will give you immense strength.
14. The world does not revolve around your phone. Pay more attention to the people around you than the latest trends.
15. Let people finish their sentences. I’ve noticed that we, including myself, have a habit of interrupting each other before one has even finished what they were saying; slow down and listen!
16. Treat people with the respect they deserve. If they disrespect you, remain civil, but they do not deserve your respect. That is to say, do not disrespect them either.
17. Honesty. Being truthful is invaluable. How can you demand respect if you lack honesty?
18. Positivity. Seeing the good in everything and trying to remain as happy as possible completely changes your life and outlook on it. We can choose happiness or we can choose negativity. But which will we inevitably benefit from?