six months old on a bed, pillows propped around to prevent you from rolling down and hitting your head on the cold floor, rendering all efforts to keep you alive useless. object permanence. friendly faces. toys. a baby sister that steals attention, peaceful and small in ways you cannot be. cerelac and mashed rice. building blocks. the sweet feeling of being carried on the back of your father. primary school. sucking the sweet liquid of geraniums. friendly rivalry. winning milo competitions and bringing months of provisions back home. living word academy. joy joy joy vol 1–6. visiting the village in december and watching osuofia in london with your cousins. reading books that are too mature for your age. school excursions. smashing the neighbour’s window. the mango tree in your compound and its big fruits. using bitterleaf water to dye your shirt and being flogged for it because clothes are expensive. drawing thousands of clothes on paper. trips to ariaria market to buy black shoes, always black shoes. living in a foreign country. adolescence. self-consciousness. the hyperrealization that your body — which up to this point had only been a vessel, transporting your organs to and fro — can also be currency, a weapon, a toy. blatant racism masked as jokes. downloading music from illegal streaming sites. buying art supplies for class projects. singing who says? by selena gomez at the top of your lungs. owning a cell phone for the first time. mcdonalds icecream. religious apathy. teen vogue magazines. getting stretchmarks on your legs and worrying about them constantly. (shea butter, coconut oil and prayers do not wish them away). owning shoes that are not black. tangerines. wiling away time on tumblr, ao3 and pinterest. listening to kpop. watching horror movies with friends. trips to the mall. the delightful tang of frozen yoghurt. online friends that make living worthwhile. eating arepas, tequeños, and cachapas with malta. hating reggaeton. being bad at algebra, and thriving when it comes to literature. school camping trips. drowning in the sea, in swimming pools, in your feelings. a chochochitas addiction. the bitter taste of nostalgia on your high school graduation day. moving back home. new faces, new scents. falling in love with family again. SAT test scores. the crampy smell of marina, lagos island. an uncle who tells you bone-chilling stories about university cults in an attempt to make you safety-conscious. doing diploma and hating every second you spend in class. living away from home for the first time. taking walks on unilag campus in the evenings. falling in love for the first time. a kitten. friends that become sisters. the nervous feeling in your chest when you check your JUPEB score, and the relief that comes after. all the waiting, all the tears. the excitement of a first day that wanes as the months and years go by. new mentors, new people to admire. a new love. pandemic year and self discovery. winning awards for writing. loving social media, loving sharing with people. making new friends. getting your first job. hating social media, hating sharing with people. new passions and new skills. the feeling of your heart splintering into tiny pieces, and the yearlong effort it takes to piece it back together. long phone calls with friends. depression. the sudden realization that your life is your responsibility and no one is coming to save you. loving reggaeton. the happy feeling that comes with drinking wine. wearing makeup and going out to see people and see life. laughing at the top of your lungs. confusion. ranting on burner accounts. crying in bathroom stalls. becoming friends with your mother, and falling in love with her perspective of life. a love for human hair, graphic t-shirts, and interesting skirts. boys with beautiful eyes and cold hands. clarity. more jobs, more long hours spent typing away on keyboards. credit alerts and debit alerts. getting bored of monotony, getting tired of it all. energy drink addictions, and snapchat streaks. more responsibilities. books that save you, and books that remind you that it’s okay to fail sometimes. finding new communities to love, and share in. wearing eye pencils as lipliners. south nights in the company of friends. learning to live for yourself without feeling guilty, one day at a time. trusting the process. letting people go. allowing yourself to make mistakes and retrace your steps, however many times it may take. avocadoes. skincare products. growth.