Heart of Arts

Nobody is Yours

Claire P. Ayelotan, PhD


Dear Life,

Today heralded a drop in temperature, a chill more biting than yesterday’s. This shift marked my departure from the comfort zone as I embarked on a return journey to my native land. The decision to traverse from London to Paris involved a sequence of travels: an Uber to Heathrow, followed by a flight, each step a deliberate choice to mitigate the harsh winter cold. Opting for an Uber over the train to Heathrow, I sought refuge from the biting cold, a small yet significant decision marking the start of my journey to Paris.

Why do I share these seemingly trivial details? Sometimes, in life’s tapestry, moments beckon us to embrace a childlike wonder, especially when gratitude is our sole companion. Celebrations often breed thankfulness, but what of farewells? Their nature, whether born of necessity or choice, shapes our response. Reasons for parting ways are myriad – from irreconcilable differences to a necessary space for growth. My current parting is self-authored, deliberate, a choice made for breathing space.

Dear Life, you’ve always advised moderation, a mantra I’d promised to adopt after fulfilling my ambitions. Little did I know how pivotal this guidance would become during the pandemic when the world paused, and the standstill threw open Pandora’s boxes, revealing true intentions. It was a moment when women’s vulnerabilities were tested, when many were locked up with monsters, and other’s mental health came to the brim of collapse. They gave it unthinkable names: social harm or women in distress. The home was no longer a safe space.

Likewise, it was a period of legal separations and introspection. I, too, experienced my share, learning the importance of discretion. But you, Life, marched on relentlessly. It was a period of revelation, unmasking the true nature of those around us. Amidst the chaos, my family dynamics shifted, serving me harsh lessons. Have I matured? Indeed, the journey of self-improvement continues, particularly in mastering the art of silence.

You, Life, have been a constant mentor, urging me to love genuinely yet reminding me to trust cautiously. Humanity, in its transient glory, is akin to my springtime garden, beautiful yet fleeting. Their memories, preserved in digital clouds, are mere echoes of their presence. In the grand scheme, our existence hinges on your whims, Life. The mystery of life and death, your grand design, remains an enigma. You give and take away, orchestrating our paths until the final curtain falls. Your reasons, shrouded in mystery, elude me still. In this, I see us as your artworks, diverse and unique in your gallery of existence.

Now, let me share a recent experience that underscored your teachings. In a WHSmith bookstore near Heathrow’s security checks, Surrounded by books, a reminder of your insistence on lifelong learning, I encountered her, a middle-aged Indian woman, a fellow reader with stories of her own whose presence commanding attention.

“Do you like feminist books?” she inquired.

Her inquiry about feminist literature sparked a conversation that veered into the personal. Feminism, a term I’ve learned to approach with caution, embracing womanism instead. Our conversation was brief yet profound, revealing her story of suffering –  a divorce, a troubled son with mental illness, and the betrayal of a close friend. This woman’s narrative, especially poignant within her cultural context, laden with pain and societal stigma, culminated in a poignant realisation: “Remember, nobody is yours.” That was what she told me before leaving.

Her words resonated deeply. In the façade of relationships, true intentions often remain concealed. Life, you’ve often questioned the depth of my acquaintances. Do I truly know them? Perhaps not as well as I thought.

This encounter highlighted a truth you’ve often hinted at, Life: the surface-level understanding of relationships. The lesson, then, is clear: People become truly ours when we release the expectation of them fulfilling our needs, choosing instead to love them as they are.

Now, as Paris awaits, I ponder your role in this journey. Life, will you accompany me, or do you prefer the familiarity of London?

The decision is yours.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people.

× Let's Chat!