Dear Tracy,

You have never thought this in real time but you are actually pretty awesome. It’s alright, it’s actually good for you that you don’t think you are. 

The euphoric feeling that overcomes you ten years later as you write this, I promise, is worth the wait. Unbend: You are still but a child. Your awareness of the world at thirteen is unbelievable. It shouldn’t be. You should be a child. Play. Laugh. For Christ’s sake put that book down once in a while. Even Amedeo Avogadro had fifty one of his eighty years to get to his constant. You have time. Good job fighting to keep knowing things though. It is only because you know that you survive. You are a hardened girl. You are not to be responsible for yourself yet. Don’t try to be. Most of the things you have already seen aren’t things most of your age mates, even ten years later, will have seen. You know deep in your heart that these things aren’t ordinary things. You will try to convince yourself that you are normal. You aren’t. You shouldn’t want to be. The only reason you will survive the cold hard floor on which you will endure your sleepless nights, is because you are just as cold, just as hard. Don’t worry, in ten years, the floor will only be a story. Your beds will only get bigger.

Look harder: The things you perceive, really aren’t.

Where you think there is love, there isn’t. Just because they should love you doesn’t mean that they do. You see, where there is real love there can be no destruction. Real love will meet you in your mess, and it will take you, all of you, and parade you around like some kind of prize. It will not hide the parts of you that are unsightly, because to real love, all of you and all you’ve been through, is maybe magic. What you think is wealth, isn’t. True value isn’t always apparent. The real gold is buried under the silence of humility. Don’t be content with the surface. The hands that hold real diamonds are rugged and tired from the extreme pressures of tenacity and hard work. In these hands you can see where the coal left its mark. It is only when you get to the middle of these clenched fists that you will start to see the shine of the diamond.

Live: Thirteen is closer to the beginning than it is to the end.

You have ‘had enough’ too many times for your age but Trace, more ‘enough’ is yet to be had. Always say thank you. Especially to those from whom you’ve had the most. It builds grace. Trace, let yourself be loved soon, it gets harder the longer you wait. Forget the fear; it always makes the wolf seem bigger than he is anyway. Love, Tracy.


Tracy Odhiambo is a budding freelance writer and law student from Nairobi, Kenya. Her interests include African literature and English fiction. 

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