A letter from an older woman

On life, love and living true.

Hi! Zia here. This letter is going to be a guest post from one of my best friends because I'm in a not-so-good place mentally and physically. Jojo is a writer, editor, marketing girlie and all round Ms Capitalism.

Jojo is a lot older than I am (by a lot, I mean four years) and it's interesting to see how despite the age difference, we still have some of the same problems. She's just way better at articulating her thoughts than I'd ever be. I hope you enjoy this letter from a mid 20s girl as much as I did.


P.S - Happy almost Valentine's.

Regularly Scheduled Programming.

Hello, my name is Jojo, and I'm taking over Ink Love and Light for this edition.

For a couple of months now, I’ve been feeling the familiar ache to disappear. I think of myself as a functional-overwhelmed person. My mind is always racing, and my brain is always filled with things to do. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I enjoy the busyness. But sometimes, it gets too much and takes way too much to stay functional. When that happens, the itch to deactivate my whole life starts spreading from my heart to my hea

Still, one thing I’ve come to realise is that the desire to disappear is not the same as wanting not to be seen. I don’t want to hide. I just want some time away where nothing happens except the quiet passing of time. I want to unplug from the constant doings of adulthood and the demands of personhood.

On the topic of being seen, it is a terrible and beautiful thing to be seen. Who sees you? Who looks at you and truly sees you? In my fairly long life, I’ve been fully seen by another only a handful of times. And I’m comfortable with that small number.

As I age, it will increase, but by a small margin, I’m sure. And again, I am satisfied with that. There are people who have seen me fully, that I wish I could go back in time and stop because the aftermath was too painful. Conversely, there are people who have seen me truly, that I am deeply thankful they did because it saved me from completely disappearing into myself and out of existence.

I’m learning to sit with my feelings these days. As a master of repressing things, this is very difficult. LMAO. I want to push it all down and keep moving. What stops me from doing that is a quiet voice in my head reminding me of the wreckage piled up from years of repression. Emotions are complex, and the human condition is a constant spinning cycle of them. Nonetheless, I am learning to navigate them without running or running too far away (because sometimes you just need space to breathe first).

The first step to a life you don’t want to run away from is to tell yourself the truth about yourself. I no longer want to lie to myself that I’m okay when I’m not. I no longer want to ignore the ache to disappear. I want to sit down and deliberately peel open these painful things as they show up, find the source of the wound(s), ask what it wants and what it would take to patch it up and go from there. Wish me luck; heaven knows I need a ton of it.

On Life.

The Japa wave struck again and carried one of my favourite people. It has left me with a peculiar blend of separation melancholy and aching hope fueled by beautiful memories.

Adjusting to the new dynamic has me ready to rip my heart out. Still, It is interesting to observe how the mind is capable of clashing emotions. On the one hand, I'm excited to see her chart this course of her life because she's a bloody brilliant woman who deserves all the good things. On the other, I miss her so much it feels like dying from pneumonia. Fascinating stuff, really.

One more life thing: I’m slowly getting the hang of being a co-founder. Last year, I joined a startup called Iko Africa. We give African writers a space to tell their stories without worrying about gatekeeping or an audience that doesn’t understand them. We give African readers an online library of stories written by people like them. So yeah, I’m learning how to build a startup, and it is testing my abilities, but I’m a bad bitch who loves a challenge.

On Books.

I'm a short story lover, but I'm trying to read more books this year. My current read is a collection of Memoirs titled Abandon Me by Melissa Febos. I struggle with abandonment issues, and I felt seen from the first page of this book. Melissa is writing my emotions so plainly that I have highlighted nearly every page so far. As James Baldwin says, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

Also, here's a link to my 2023 short story thread (I pick the best stories, ask around.)

On Music.

Jacob Collier is absolutely one of my favourite musicians, and this song has been on repeat for days. It's so achingly beautiful I want to curl up inside it and rest for days.


For months, I’ve had a block when it comes to my personal writing. I’m pleased to announce the spell is broken, and I’m writing again! Essays and creative nonfiction are my bags this year, and I fully intend to be deep in them.

That’s all, folks. This newsletter was sponsored by a ridiculous amount of fruit salad and too many cups of Top Tea. Salud!