Dear Youth: Show Up For Yourselves

Dear Youth,

One of the most amazing things about you is that you are the most powerful human beings ever. You are young, talented, fearless, strong, energetic, full of life, hopes, dreams; and when you put your mind and energy into something you can move mountains, bulldoze your way out of and into any situation.

You are warriors!

One of the biggest challenges we face as human beings is we don’t know who we are as individuals, outside of what society says we are.

Who are you when the name you were given at birth is taken away from you?

What remains after that?

These are life-long questions that I ask myself everyday as I try to know and understand myself better. They are hard questions but I believe more hard on you, our youth, today because you hear different voices everyday telling you who you should be. These voices come from televisions, magazines, social media and our society in general. They are so loud you don’t know which/whom to listen to or pay attention to. The pressure is too much; more so on young women and girls. Before you know it, your inner voice is silenced. You lose yourself before you even get to know you. Then the same society turns around and is shocked by your behaviour and attitude. The same society that made you the person you are today.

Most times I look at our youth and wonder: is that you?

What kind of a person would you have been without all the noises? How does one not lose oneself?

Surround yourself with real, genuine and honest friends. The beauty of it is you know these friends because we all have been blessed with that sense of knowing. It is always there deep down inside each and every one of us. It is not going anywhere and no one can ever take it away from you. Society can try to silence it but eventually it fights back because it cannot be silenced. Friends come in different forms; they could be your sister, cousin, neighbour or someone you met at school or at work. Someone to help you return to you when society’s voice gets really loud! A best friend!

Early this year I met an incredible woman who taught me how to answer the question: who are you? She said you start by showing up for you. By being present! She said it starts with a simple hello to anyone you walk past on the street, regardless of who they are. She said greet every person you walk past on the street, on your way to school, work and in the office because as people we want to be acknowledged by others. When walking past someone while on the phone smile or wave at them. When you acknowledge others that is you showing up for you. That way you get to learn about yourself.

Soon when asked: “who are you?”

You will say: “I am a person who greets every person I come across.”

That is one of the ways you show up. That is how you leave your mark. You are making your presence known. You are claiming your space. You are saying I too belong on this earth. After all, the energy you give out is the energy you receive.

As human beings we want to be loved. We want to be seen, to be heard. We want acceptance but most of all we want to belong hence the different names we have and use to describe ourselves.

When you know who you are, it is easy to decide what kind of a person you want to be. Most of all, society’s idea of you and other people’s opinion of you will no longer matter.

Dear youth: Who are you? When your name, gender, age, religion, tradition and culture are taken away from you? What remains?

Written by Linky Nkuna, Head of Justicia Digital Learning Campus and Acting Head of Huntington Digital Learning Campus