Dear Self,

I have been meaning to write this for the longest time; since two weeks ago. Since I wrote about my birthday, and all the happiness within the world swelled into a ball, and settled at the centre of my heart. Since I promised myself that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can break my heart for the remaining art of this year.

But every time I opened my laptop, the blinking cursor on the blank page almost brought me to tears. No matter how much I tried, no matter how hard I begged my heart and soul to remember what it is to write, and the calmness that fills me whenever I write; I couldn’t type anything.

So, every Thursday, for the past two weeks, I bowed my head in shame, and guilt, and despair, whenever people texted to ask why there was no blog. I tried to find excuses to rid my body of the guilt consuming me from the edges of my skin, but nothing whatsoever could bring me back to wholesomeness.

Deep inside, I was afraid I had forgotten how to write letters to myself, and it kept me wide awake at night, thinking how I could write flawless letters to, and about others, both living dead, yet I couldn’t do the same to myself. That I was watching my soul crumple within my body, thirsting for my words, yet I couldn’t do it. That the flowers blooming along the rivers flowing within me had started to wither, after the rivers dried, and there was nothing I could do. 

That I was letting this sudden bout of anxiety, probably the heaviest I have carried in such a long time, rip my body into pieces. I was letting it undress me in front of people, things, and places I no longer want to remember. I was letting its voice fill the emptiness within me, wondering how I can be such whole on the outside, while my inside was scampering away from a hole right at the centre of me.

So I spent days and nights sprawled on the thickness of the carpet on my bedroom floor, begging myself to not cry, at least just this once. Promising myself that this was just a phase, a passing phase, and the sun will shine soon. Only I didn’t understand how fast  all this darkness had descended upon me, reminding me that there are things I have no control over, no matter how high I reach, how far I travel, or how long I wait.

And the most unforgiving thing about anxiety is the difficulty in isolating its triggers. It sprouts from anywhere, any time, differently each time. It starts, slowly, with a loud thumping of your heart against your chest, so you lie down a little bit, only to wake up and nothing makes sense. You are hungry, and cooking, but not eating. You are alone, and lonely, and craving company, but whenever someone shows up, an acidic shot spreads across your stomach, rising slowly through your throat, and when it reaches your eyes, you want the ground to open up and rid you of all these things.

So when it gets too hard, this bout, that I smash my phone against the wall whenever it rings, and the promise of it going away on its own, soon enough, starts to fade, I start looking for goodness and niceness. I start anticipating for just one piece of good news to find me, but even the strength to chase all these is no longer within me.

Still, happiness finds its way towards me in all the forms I had never thought possible; in the form of Ally asking me to take my time away, and covering for me whenever I couldn’t show up. In the form of my mother, for once, not throwing a tantrum when I tell her I am not in a position to pick phone calls, and I don’t know when this thing I am battling shall end. In the form of my email binging with newness and beautiful change, higher beginnings, and unfathomable joy. 

Happiness still finds a way towards me, in the form of my person sitting with me in the silence, with no questions, and holding me as my body shakes throughout the night. Happiness, in the form of him choosing me over and over again, even when I could see the sleeplessness in his eyes.

So with time, even as I let these little bits and pieces of happiness consume me, I could feel the anxiety, the little bits of them that were still adamant to leave; tugging at my skin, scratching this barrier I have created between it and happiness, almost insinuating that I let it in, and I have no moral authority to throw it out, replacing it with as short-lived a thing as happiness.

But then, I woke up one day and my head was no longer throbbing. The sausages on my plate did not taste like saw dust, and the warm water hitting my body from the shower head felt like so much magic, and then some more. So I drew my curtains for the first time in a long time, and allowed myself to breathe afresh, to experience this new life that lies on the other side of happiness, and let my body thrive from this new blooming. 

And even when I powered my laptop and stared at a blank page and a blinking cursor, I did not feel an uncontrollable urge to cry, or to give up writing altogether, because there is no point in writing if I am healing other people’s souls at the expense of my own. I did not feel the urge to cry because I could feel a peaceful white cloud starting to form, first within my stomach, then rising towards my throat, and when it hit my eyes, I knew I still had in me the power to pull myself out of the darkest of alleys, unscathed, and water my flowers back to life.

I do not know where I m going with this, but I am glad I have been able to talk about my darkness, my struggle, and my uprising. I  am glad that my heart and soul is breathing afresh, and spreading the life to my human body. That with time, if and when I finally rid myself of these things, I do not forget the journey that it has been, and the lessons I carry within my spirit.

And even if they do not go away, these things, that I embrace the fact that there is nothing wrong with me. That I am unlearning generation-long traumas, and charting a path that holds me in softness and warmth.

With love,

Heart & Soul.





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Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

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