sweet sixteen

song selection: this one, i wrote in silence… stillness all round. just me and my thoughts. i wanted to stay completely present. 

scent: the cool night air

this is me at my sweet sixteen… a high-school friend sent it to me a few weeks ago. seeing this photo has set so many thoughts swirling in my head. it has wrought so many revelations about my self…. 

i love this girl… she already was what i’m becoming now:

bold and beautiful

i had gotten my pixie haircut as my reward for excelling in my exams…against the backdrop of the ever-pervasive negative litany from random people everywhere I’d go:  “girls must have long hair”, “your hair is your beauty” blah blah blah.. i heard them, but i didn’t care… it was the most beautiful i’d ever felt in my life, up until that point. because a part of feeling beautiful, is feeling free.

how many of us have had our self-image and consequential self-worth chipped away by people speaking over us with their jest, their flippancy, their unsolicited opinions, with projection of their own fears and insecurities?

i love this girl, she never believed those lies. 

a style of her own

imagine this… my special sweet sixteen dress made from beautiful linen table cloth and napkins. this girl had dreamers and believers around her even then, and confidence, to just be herself.

my aunt and my mother excitedly took me to our resident family seamstress, Annette, one of the most talented people i’ve ever met… she could imagine anything, she was so creative; she could understand anything, her design intellect so strong; and she could sew anything, for anyone, because her gift wasn’t just sewing, but seeing her clients as uniquely beautiful as they were. it’s only now, as i think about it and write this, i realise how much this talented, humble lady had influenced my creative journey long before i knew it too would be my gift… but back to the original point, this girl had her own ideas of style and what made her feel sweet. she also knew not everyone would understand that the coolest outfit for a sweet sixteen could be made from napkins and tablecloths so she didn’t bother to share. it’s the same “turtles and dinosaurs” story…perspective. and how countless times, dreams get crushed as we fight to get people who aren’t intended to be a part of the journey to see what we see.

intuitive

go figure! i flipped the fancy, formal script and had a bounce-a-bout at my sweet sixteen. hilarious, right? but it was magic: 

a hidden gem – it was fairly new thing back then. so the novelty added to the experience

unexpected – i am yet, all these years later, to go to a sweet sixteen with a bounce-a-bout. if you had one at yours please introduce yourself in the comments, i think we can be friends 🙂

freedom – instinctively i’ve always known that people have the best times of their lives when they are subconciously transported to another space where they can just feel light and free. that is the objective of all the work i do.

surrounded 

i think back to my head table. every single person who sat with me that night, except my boyfriend at the time LOL, is still more than two decades years later, one of my people. my circle. even at sixteen, i was never one for frivolous relationships, my friendships were solid and my family ties strong. this girl knew it then, that who you laugh and chat and dance with, who you surround yourself, with can make you and break you in this life, and she chose her people well.

connected

when i read my journaling from this time, i’m surprised at the many conversations i’d had with God back then. i really didn’t remember this about myself. But that’s the beautiful thing about relating to God, once you connect, it never leaves you. you can ignore Him, reject Him, render Him redundant, promote yourself and relegate Him to the back, whatever you choose, but His love is always there for you and she obviously knew, what i’m beginning to fully understand now, God is at the centre of everything. 

 

i love this girl… she is my essence. if i wasn’t her at sixteen…. hmm…. i don’t know who I would be now, but I doubt I would be as shiny as I feel in this moment…

she gave me head, heart and legs for my journey, and gosh, today, she’s touching my heart and teaching me much about who i’ve always been, even as i’ve taken the circuitous route to becoming myself again. 

i love this sweet sixteen girl… so much of who i am is, well, the effect of her beautiful space. 

i honour her and am so grateful for her! 

thanks for being here… wishing you a beautiful day!

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8 Comments

  1. 6.26.20
    Keisha said:

    This! Soooo beautiful. I can only hope to teach my daughter even half of what you knew of yourself at 16.

    • 6.26.20
      aiesha said:

      Me too, Keisha! but you know, children are wise… I really believe they are here to teach us. And you will teach your daughter plenty by just loving her and loving yourself. x

  2. 6.26.20
    Jamilah said:

    I remember this girl as well. She was and is such a beautiful soul. I also remember a younger version of this girl who left the most lasting impression on me. She was my secret pixie in the eighth grade and the time and care she took to make me feel special and loved has never been forgotten. Thank you for the joy I felt everytime I came to my desk my and found a note or a treat. There’s one gift I think I still have to this day (a bunny). At that age we’re so unsure of who we are it was nice to have an unexpected friend. Thank you. XOXO

    • 6.26.20
      aiesha said:

      My gosh, Jamilah! This brought tears to my eyes. literally. I remember this pixie exchange so clearly now 🙂 Thank you for bringing up such a beautiful memory for me and holding it so dear. This has blessed me! Bless you! x

      • 6.27.20
        Christine said:

        Thanks so much for sharing this aiesha..its beautiful to see how much you have stayed true to yourself and to the path that was already being prepared for you. It makes me yearn to reintroduce my 16yr old self to me now.

        • 6.27.20
          aiesha said:

          She’s waiting 🙂 I remember her too..beautiful then and now 🙂

  3. 6.27.20
    DT said:

    Just lovely Aeisha! I didn’t have the opportunity to meet the “Aeisha at sixteen” but thanks lots for introducing me to her today. It’s clear that the journey of life has added many beautiful layers to her ….and today she’s still a terrific human being! Cheers to the journey!