“2015, please be magical” – 31st December 2014

Those were the last words I wrote in my journal last year. Those words ushered me into 2015. Those words came true. Honestly, wishes come true. That’s one thing I’ve realised this year.

Before writing this, I read my journal. I’m thoroughly amazed by how much I’ve grown this year, and the woman that I’m becoming.

2015 has been a hell of a year for me. It is by far the most amazing year of my life, because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, to feel, to be human and stop trying to be superman. I am immensely proud of how much I have grown this year, and even though I’m still terrified at the thought of turning 18 (today’s my birthday!) and finally becoming an ‘adult’ in the true sense of the word and all the implications that come with it, I’m really excited to see what it brings.

I feel like the future holds really happy stuff, but I also worry that I won’t be able to do everything that I want to, maybe because I’d lose focus or I won’t find opportunities or maybe I’d chicken out. I don’t worry as often as I used to, because this year, I actually realised that I’m an amazing person and I can do pretty much anything that I set my mind to. I found that my dreams are actually valid, and not as outrageous as I thought they were, because I saw them come true.

I took my Cambridge A level exams in May, and it was nerve wracking because I was terrified that I was going to fail, and I’d become the girl who had really bright prospects that suddenly went dim. I pushed myself really hard and most times I woke up in the middle of the night contemplating life after failure. It’s sad that I put myself through all that worrying, because my results came and I did absolutely amazing. I had straight A’s and a 96% aggregate. I did not have to resit any paper. Not a shabby result. I hope I do even better in my second year exams and get into a top university. I also went from not wanting to hear anything about studying law, to applying to study law. I found that the only reason I didn’t want to study law was because I didn’t want to follow my parents’ exact path, but there’s really nothing wrong with that if I end up doing my own thing and forging my own path. I’m still not sure if I want to actually practice law though. I know deep down inside of me that I want to teach, and write too. That’s exactly what I’m going to work towards, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Following my instincts and trusting in my gut, albeit blindly is something that I did a lot this year. It was worth the risk because I went from being absolutely terrified of nursing feelings for anyone to falling in love and it has been really amazing so far. I journeyed far away from my comfort zone this year, and it was both scary and exhilarating. Most times, I found myself wondering if I was still the same Denike from 2014. The answer was always no. I got tired of downsizing my love and just decided to let it flow. I’m really glad that I took the plunge this year. Sometimes, it’s okay to do things in spite of the world screaming a thousand reasons why you should not. I learned when to let go of my logic, stop seeing purely black and white and examine the colours. It has been purely magical.

I learned how to communicate with my loved ones this year, how to be more vocal about my feelings. I’m not where I want to be yet, but at least I don’t bottle up all my emotions anymore. My relationship with my sister has improved a lot, and we don’t bicker as much as we used to. I overheard her telling her friend that she’s happy that she has a sister that she can look up to. I might have shed a tear or two. I’m still not as close to my mother as I hoped to be, but we at least see eye to eye. I’m grateful for my friends, even though I may not constantly check up on them, I know there are people that I can count on, people that are seemingly always there for me no matter where our lives are at. I learned to ask for and accept help from people ; to stop trying to do every single thing on my own.

I also met so many amazing people this year, especially aspiring writers like me, and I hope to keep them.

I survived this year without having a nervous breakdown. I’ve had only mini existential crises this year, and I didn’t spend my days feeling like a total failure. Instead I focused on my goals and went after them. I know I’ve grown because I didn’t let things weigh me down. I went from not getting replies from prospective employers after interviews, not getting responses to my emails and being rejected because I was ‘too young’. After doing so much free work, I finally got my first paid job. The money is not a lot, but I’m happy that I have a job.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that I got this year. From hosting a radio show throughout the summer, to having my poems featured in ‘Hip hop is not for Children’ by Onyeka Nwelue, writing for lucid lemons, and being long listed for the Etisalat prize for flash fiction. It made me feel like I was doing something valid with my work. , I didn’t write as much as I should have this year, my blog has literal cobwebs. I didn’t even write in my journal every day. I also didn’t read as many books as I wanted to. I hope to change that next year. Acquire new skills, launch new projects, do more and be more.

God really came through for me this year. I went weeks without saying a prayer sometimes. He still remained faithful. I hope my relationship with God gets to where I want it to be, I really do.

I didn’t ‘glo up’. I still take really horrible selfies. , Everyone still complains that they wish I’d care more about my appearance and wear makeup. Perhaps I’ll be different in 2016.

2015 did not happen exactly as I hoped it would, but looking back now I know that I would not change a single thing. Above all, even though I didn’t achieve everything that I set out to this year was happy through it all. Pure unadulterated happiness. You really can’t put a price on that. I can’t wait to do next year’s review. Here’s to an amazing 2016!



Birthday girl! 18!!!!! Wow you’re ready! All the best as you step through your open doors. We love your participation and how dedicated you are to Stories. Please be our best friend forever?

Cynthia is sharing her story this evening. The tempo is still rising gradually and we hope you’re already enjoying the ride. See you later!

Barakat Sheriff

Queen. Writer. Reader


  • Enajyte says:

    Happy birthday to you !!!

    Reading this encouraged me in so many ways. I wish I had half your clarity at 18. The world is waiting for you. Have a bright 2016!

  • Tunrayo says:

    It’d keep getting better! 🙂

  • iskminov says:

    Happy birthday. Here’s to an even better 2016!

  • MERCY says:


  • Clarion says:

    Happy Birthday! Did you say you were Only 18? You write so well and I wish I had as much clarity as you at 18. Cheers to a beautiful life.

  • missjones says:

    Wow! I’m glad that 2015 was magical for u, I hope 2016 will be even better.

  • Amiee says:

    I am 10years older than you are and all I can say is I wish I had your clarity of mind and purpose when I was your age. You are a shining star. Don’t let anybody dim you or tell you otherwise. Cheers.

  • Eloho says:

    Amazing!!! Happy birthday Denike.
    You write beautifully and your clarity at 18 is simply awesome.
    Excitedly looking forward to seeing you evolve. I am certain that doors will open for you.
    Girl, your future is bright, go ahead and soar.

  • Jvmoke says:

    All of this reminds me of all of what happened the year I turned 18.
    You are doing great. May the stones in your way be clear and may the bumps in your road be leveled before you reach them.
    Happy 18th year to you.

  • ThePfarrer says:

    Happy birthday! Cheers to an awesome year ahead.

  • Ralee says:

    Happy Birthday Barakat..

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