I never imagined I could love you so abundantly, without question or doubt. You’ve come so far, s’thandwa sam.
There’s so much I want to tell you.
You’re the love of my life. You’re who I spend my days with, you’re who I see my future with and who I am going to die with, there’s no escaping you. You’re conjoined to my hip, that’s why I had no choice but to fall in love with you and everything that you are.
Sometimes it’s going to get difficult. You’re going to want to throw in the towel. You’re going to resent it all. You’re not going to believe in yourself. When that happens, I want you to remember that you’re so loved, by so many. I want you to remember someone calls you aunty and still wants you around to see their dinosaur drawings. You have to see all the dinosaurs they are yet to draw.
I want you to know that I am exceedingly proud of you
Stop being so tough on yourself, you’re doing the best that you possibly can. We both know it has not been easy. Sometimes the darkness comes and overstays its visit, but you have always been able to dust yourself off and find the light again. The next time you look in the mirror I want you to turn that sh*t into a shrine, honour yourself. You are so deserving.
The next time you’re angry, I want you to feel your own wrath. Don’t bottle it up, you’re going to explode baby.
The next time you’re sad, bawl your eyes out.
When you’re happy, cackle. Laugh until it hurts. Show them your teeth, baby.
Swim through the tides.
Show up as the messy human being you sometimes are and know that you have a home in me, I am your sanctuary. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness. You don’t owe anyone strength, you don’t always have to be strong.
Remember your magic
“Nokuba ndihamba emfuleni wethunzi lokufa,
Andiyi koyika bubi,
Ngokuba Unam wena”
This is what your mother named you. This is what she wanted for you. Sometimes you will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil. She wanted you to live life with no fear. Shed off the old skin and come back anew. Set your soul on fire, my love. Let it burn, burn, burn.
Your birth was a story of courage.
Always remember who the f*ck you are!
Words by Unam Ntsababa.
Illustration by Grace Crooks.