The scariest thing about being an older sister to a girl, is knowing that you are a role model, by default. The things you do, the friends you keep, your achievements all come to play in this mentorship you didn’t even ask for. You are a “Sistah”, whether you like it or not. You better act like one. I worry about you. You’re so young, so beautiful, and so eager to know the world, it scares me. I want to shield you from the world but then I know I can’t. I want to be your personal monitoring spirit but which time do I have to play Angel Njideka? And even if I had the time, I’d only succeed in pushing you away. I wonder what it must have felt like for mummy to raise five girls.
As you turn 17 (I know I’m supposed to keep your age a secret but because I’m an adult, I get to be annoying), recognise that friendships are more than Instagram squad goals and Facebook BFFs. A friend must align with your principles and values. Your friend must be able to look out for you and be there for you when you are not at your best. NEVER underestimate the power of peer group influence. If you constantly have to defend your principles among your friends, then you’re keeping the wrong ones. Keep platonic friendships across the sexes, it’ll give you an open mind about boys.
On the issue of boys, baby, don’t sweat it. Two years ago, boys were probably an unnecessary gender on earth, to you. A year from now, you’ll probably like one boy in your class and try to gain his attention. However, recognise that men will come and go but the opportunity to make the most of your life won’t be as rampant. Wait. When you’re the JJC who doesn’t know a thing about boys, wait. When you’re the only one who has never visited some exotic place with Bae, wait still. Let your heart honour God and your body, too. Virginity is not out-dated, trust me.
Don’t live your life waiting for some prince charming to come sweep you off your feet and give you the future you dream of. Life is not a fairy tale. Work hard to make the most of your life. Achieve your dreams, for yourself. Buy yourself the things you can afford, so that a small boy will not disrespect you because of Suya and ice cream. Live within your means. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of your financial status. This life “na turn by turn”, so money and finery will come.
Don’t let people talk you down or walk all over you. Choose respect over love.
You are beautiful; full of beauty inside and out. So when you hear it outside, understand that it’s not a big deal. It is merely a statement of fact.
You are intelligent and powerful. You come from a lineage of strong, God-fearing, Annang women blessed with the gift of words; Mma Obong, Mma Achan, Mummy, Aunty Stella, Aunty Menso, Aunty Enobong, and all of your sisters. Find your own voice and don’t let anyone keep you silent.
I love you very much and I’m cheering for you. We all are.
Happy birthday, baby.