Slowly, slowly, do not rush the unfolding of your soul. Everything takes time to bloom.
Around this time last year, I was a major actress at the dysthymia stage. I had almost every symptom dysthymia wanted from its slaves. I had a loss of enjoyment in things I once found pleasurable, major change in weight( in my case, a loss of more than 5% of weight within a month), insomnia at least for 345 of 365 days in a year, physically restless and rundown, excessively fatigued almost every day and the one that got me a job at that large theatrical stage was the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness.
For you folks wondering what dysthmia is. In simple terms, it is chronic depression. I am not exactly sure how it started. But as the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, I noticed that I had started drifting from people. The once fun and expressive girl had turned withdrawn and desolate. I had a very select few I kept contact with and if you weren't on that list, I either rejected your calls or blocked your number depending on how willing you were to contact me.
I was obligated to go to a social night out at least once in a week so that my friends wouldn't suspect anything. Even during those social nights, I hardly communicated or socialised except when I had a direct question thrown to me. I just smiled and drank my way through the night. Yeah, I sipped my drink quicker than my friends could blink. I focused on my alcohol glass in front of me almost always. The only thing that usually could draw me away from my drink was dance and music. I could dance for hours without stopping. I would literally be pouring out sweat and have body pains but I still pushed myself and danced harder. Most of the time, it took the fact that my friends wanted to have a breath of fresh air to get me to go out and take a break. Seeing as I didn't want them to get hurt/lost/assaulted as usually I was always the sober one. I drank more percentage in alcohol than they took but I always sober. Actually there's a medical explanation for that. And I believe it has to do with the fact that since I was always exhausting energy and simultaneously drinking water because of thirst on the dance floor, I was inevitably sweating out the alcohol fluids and also got to weaken the alcohol mix by drinking water.
So how did it get this way? How did I let that cankerworm eat so deeply into me that nothing else was left except my motionless eyes and tortured soul? Why didn't I stop it before it was too late?
I have no answer for that. I guess it was just a build-up of so many things. Few years prior, I was experiencing academic setbacks, emotional abuse, professional setbacks, body shaming etc. So it kind of built up into one great portfolio of madness that my only escape became solitude. My life was lectures, library, home.
The last straw that broke the camel's back was my inability to get a first class in my degree. It ruined me. My friends all had first class. My classmates also had first class. Some important players in my life who said they loved me had great expectations for me and I let them down. To them it was, "you did a simple degree so why can't you pass in it." Well, I thought what they had for me was love. That was my first mistake I guess.
Fast forward, one month later, I had lost my job. I was on the verge of being thrown out of the home I had come to love. I was about to be separated from those who brought some semblance of meaning to my life.
I lost appetite gradually and with time I started forgetting to eat. I remember having my first meal of the day often when I am out for dinner at 7pm with my friends. I lost more weight then. From a size 10 (UK) to a size 6. Subsequent to the weight loss, came the hatred for my body. I hated my body. I liked the way skirts fit so snugly on other girls. I like the way their shape was pronounced when they wore a dress. I like the way their legs were smooth and not scarred like mine. I hated to dress up in front of other people, especially Africans because all I would hear is; "you're so flat", "you have no bum at all", "you're like a ruler".
I wished for a partner then. Someone I could just talk to. Someone I thought that could just love me for the way I am. Someone who wouldn't care about my lack of body fat. Maybe having someone who loved me the way I wanted to be loved would have made everything better. I wondered if something perhaps was wrong with me. Why don't I have anyone whom I could share my heart with? Why is no one writing sweet notes for me like Jean Pierre Jeanty (my romance idol) does for his lover?
So, have you changed? Do you think it's any different? Are you comfortable with your body now? Are you eating well?
Well, I think so. No. I know so. My appetite can be described these days as voracious. And as for my body and relationships, I realised something. I cannot expect somebody to love me if I cannot love myself first. I am slowly learning to love my body; scars and all. Infact, I acquired a newer scar on my leg recently. I still wear my short dresses and flaunt them perfectly shaped slim long legs proudly.
Now to the point of this story, I am guessing by now you're wondering how the title of the story correlates with the writing thus far.
The Cardiocrinum giganteum, also called Himalayan Lily, is a plant that I will compare myself to. For most of its life, it exists as an unassuming clump of glossy leaves, but after five to seven years, it mysteriously sprouts up to three meters (9.8 feet) and produces a gift of delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers. It is the largest of all types of lilies.
Why am I saying this? All the people around me found their purpose in life early on. Everyone was moving quickly in the professional scene. My friends and family got well paying jobs and will be discussing their jobs with passion and keeping their listeners intrigued. And I was always behind the scenes wondering why I couldn't get anything right. Wondering why I flopped at everything; job interviews, work related to my academics. I considered myself useless. I wasn't sure of what I wanted. I wasn't even sure if I could do any work at all without messing it up.
Now, in the month of August 2017, just like the Himalayas, I have mysteriously sprouted my gifts and I am sharing it to the world. I have finally discovered my purpose in life. I have finally found something that I do not fumble at. Something that makes me very happy. Something that took my other colleagues at work, months to learn. Something I am sure those I have always compared myself to will have a had time learning. I have never felt more accomplished than I feel now.
And to think I found it in the strangest of places and in the weirdest of situations is simply amazing.
I am working now. Somewhere nice and fancy. As a waitress. With no form of experience whatsoever, I have mastered the art of balancing dishes, tray of glasses with one hand. In addition, I have learned some secrets of restaurants that I will use to develop my own soon. And I am happy. I am blooming. I smile easily, I feel proud when I look at my handiwork at work, I can easily engage in beautiful discussions about food and table setting. I am not yet earning up to those around me and really I don't compare myself to them anymore or regret my situation. Because out of my meagre pay and stressful shifts, I finally was able to realise how my future is going to look like. I don't know how it's going to end but surely now, I can see the beginning.
It is in the quiet crucible, of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born ~ Wintley Phipps
While many plants generously display their flowers every year and throughout entire seasons, others take their sweet time in showing off their blooms. And with time, I am positive that I will be the largest of all lilies.