24 Feb LoveLemons Conversations With Hajarat Jose
Her hands were buried deep in an oversized denim jacket as we walked down the streets of Sheffield on the gloomiest and coldest Sunday. 21-year-old Hajarat kept us warm with her light-hearted humour and vibrant personality- even though we could tell she was freezing her toes off. We arrived at our destination, a carpark adorned by graffiti painted walls. Hajarat had not hesitation about getting into her role, never one to be shy in front of a camera and always eager to reverse roles by being her photographer’s hype-man. I found it quite amusing because earlier in the day she had been nervous about the interview. When asked to introduce herself- starting off light to ease our way into the conversation, she had laughed nervously and said ‘but you know my name now,’ before continuing:
“I’m Hajarat, and I’m almost 22. Since we are talking about love today, you might say I’m too young to be experienced on the subject, but I don’t think you can base knowledge of the subject on age. However, I would say I am sufficient to give you my views on this topic. Oh yeah, and I blog also.”
Hajarat runs an Instagram blog page called @VibingWithHajjo, which is a fashion and lifestyle blog that spans from look-books to food recipes- a reflection of a personality that is not one-dimensional, but versatile. One would describe her as goofy, bubbly, adventurous and a go-getter. “I’m not saying I am the best at anything I do, but I like to try. So at least, I make a bit of effort to do everything or as many things as possible,” she said.
Hajarat gives off the vibe of a hopeful romantic who sees ‘ride or die’ as not just some cooked up fantasy, but a reality. Read on as she talks about fate, loyalty, self-love and long distance relationships.
On love and self-love
Me: You already started off by talking about love, so what exactly does it mean to you? How important is it and how best do you express it?
HJ: Yeah, I believe everyone should be able to experience love. I think that’s why we are built- human beings are made to love. Love is excessively important. I feel like everyone in this world, wherever we are or whoever we are, we need someone. I think love is about being able to give someone, or anyone- doesn’t have to be your partner- the best treatment you would want to be given to you. This could be relationship-wise, love of a mother to a child, or love given to a beggar on the street. It is just how you would generally want to be treated as a person, and that’s how I feel love should be expressed to people. Also, you gave an example earlier of gift-giving and I don’t feel like love can be quantified. Yeah, gifts are nice and I understand it shows how much I like you, but that does not necessarily mean anything to me; anyone can buy anything for anyone. As a person, I am really emotional, so I would do anything to please somebody (more like an act of service) to you. This is how I express love: I will give you my all; my love is always going to be consistent, so the question is, is yours? Is your love going to be there as much as mine? I will always be there for you, as long as you allow me.
Me: So basically, you think you have to love yourself before anyone else?
HJ: Self-love is something one has to develop as it comes with many features. It comes with knowing yourself and your worth, and also it helps in building the confidence generally needed to enter into a relationship, in the sense that you know exactly who you are and would not want to change that for anyone. Then, your partner accepts you with all your good, and bad, and you both grow together. It is necessary for a strong, healthy relationship. If you don’t love yourself, how in hell are you gonna love somebody else (RuPaul). Sometimes people get into relationships at rather early ages and they are so used to being with other people, they actually don’t know how to be individuals anymore. Sometimes, you just need to be alone for a while to learn to accept that you won’t actually die if no one loves you because loving yourself is sufficient for you. You would then find yourself growing into better versions of yourself, discovering things that you like, rather than ‘we’. There is nothing wrong with being in a relationship, but being able to accept that you don’t have anyone when single and loving life regardless is where I think self-love can be built. People may have different views but I speak from my own experience on the subject because after I broke up with someone, calling him Mr. Grey, I was horrible. I was just shit, shit, shit. Now, I am in a better place and we still love each other but we just understand that now is not the time. We both need to grow as separate entities, make it separately to give each other better lives. I am not God, and I don’t have eyes to see the future, but I know that him giving us this space between us might have been hard, but it has also been good. I think I’ve grown to love him more in correspondence to loving myself.
This is a popular and often true saying. It also stems from the greatest biblical commandment where Jesus ordered us to love one another as we love ourselves. Furthermore, the popular adage of treating everyone like how you would like to be treated lays the concrete foundation of Hajarat’s point. Here, we also find ourselves being introduced to Mr. Grey, a character we should not be forgetting too soon.
I will give you my all, my love is always going to be consistent so the question is, is yours?
On the relationship that changed everything
Me: What was your first serious relationship?
HJ: I don’t think my high school relationship can be considered as serious. I mean, we are still cool and we reach out to each other once in a while. The relationship lasted for 2 years and he was way, way older and that might sound serious but that was high school, so it was cool. But seriously speaking, the relationship I remember and rate to the max incomparable with any other relationship, is with someone I met in early 2012, Mr. Grey.
Upon asking how they met and first impressions, she sighed and laughed, saying it was a long story but nonetheless, It was one I was eager to hear.
HJ: He was at my uni and I noticed he always stared at me, so there was always this uncomfortable eye contact. One day, he finally walked up to me and it was one of those moments when you feel like you instantly click with someone. That is the most cliche sentence I have ever made, but it was literally one of those moments you meet someone and realize that this person’s cousin and your sister happen to have been best friends in Uni, your brothers are birthday mates and they actually went to the same school. It was like we knew each other already and we were just destined to meet, have that conversation, and grow into what we have been today. Hopefully, we get to grow more.
Me: So would you say it was love at first sight?
HJ: Hmm, kind of but I would say best-friendship at first sight. I didn’t think I was going to fall in love with him the minute I met him, but I gradually fell in love with him. He was just someone that I wanted to get to know. He was just good company, and I liked him as a person and just wanted to vibe with him and make him my friend. After a while, I was not seeing him as much in Uni and when I was about to start my exams (he was doing the university’s foundation programme at the time), I remember seeing him again and he looked so raggedy. I think he was drunk and I noticed he was trying to avoid me. He eventually took my phone number and would call me everyday and night. We had competitions on the first person to fall asleep. We learned to know each other and that was how we fell in love.
Midnight calls, late night texts and campus rendezvous sound like the cliche, thrilling love story accustomed to our youth but their story takes an unexpected turn, which Hajarat reveals to us on asking where they are now. “It’s complicated” she laughs.
HJ: At the beginning of 2014, I left for the UK, changed universities because of university strikes and he went to the U.S as well. So we are now living in two different continents. Well, it is not actually complicated. I think we are at a point where we’ve not been able to make the relationship work because of distance, but we are not pretending to be unaware of the feelings we have for each other. We know we love each other, but we can’t be physically there for one another right now. Everything is normal, besides the label and we are not pressuring each other because, to be honest, who label help? I don’t really care for being his girlfriend or him being my boyfriend, I could be anyone’s girlfriend right now. I am just happy we are still in each other’s lives; because of this distance, we’ve grown closer, rather than apart.
Me: So that means you have a positive feeling towards long distance relationships based on your experience?
HJ: I don’t think people can’t do distance. If you want to make it work, you can make it work. I haven’t seen him in 3 years, but I still feel closer to him than anyone else. He is my guy and I love him, but I’m not there physically and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Even though this was a summary of knowing someone for about six years, it still feels like a lot to take in in five minutes. One can only imagine how tough the shift to long distance was on both parties. Sadness looms over us like it is guilty of unspoken words and memories of a different time.
HJ: The best times where when we still used to see each other every day, it was cool and fun. But the worst times were definitely last year because we had to break up, but also had to be in each other’s lives every day, so it was hard moving on from that. You can’t really move on if that person is still in your life every day. Now, we are at a point where we know there is distance between us and even if we overcome it and it still doesn’t work out, we are okay with that, so long as we are both happy with our respective lives.
Me: Is there anything you would take back or do better?
HJ: I believe we are both growing adults and we are bound to make mistakes, so it’s a learning process. I don’t have anything I would like to take back and I am actually grateful that we have our flaws; flaws we can correct and become better people. If not for them, we would not be better versions of ourselves today, so I am kind of glad that they exist.
On lessons learnt, trust and soulmates.
HJ: I don’t think you can have a relationship without an existing friendship. I have to be your friend. I want to be comfortable as possible with you, I want to be able to remove my wig in front of you; I don’t have time to form for a man. It is really essential.
Me: So what are your key lessons and take-aways from past relationships?
HJ: Ah, suru! SURU LERE. Patience is a very important virtue because who has gra-gra really helped? You have to exercise patience and try to listen to the other person because, to be honest, you might be at a point where you’re feeling a certain type of way about an issue you never expressed how it made you feel to the person. You go around with this different idea of what the other person has done in your head, even though there are always two different sides to the story. See, he might have done something but he didn’t mean to do it in that way; obviously, he loves me so he wouldn’t mean to hurt my feelings on purpose. Communication is very key and you should always feel comfortable speaking to your partner. At the end of the day, if you don’t speak to him about how he made you feel, so what exactly are you guys doing? I should be able to tell you that you fucked up. I mean, I’m here for you and I will support you, but you fucked up.
Also, you have to trust each other. People will always fuck up, but always be prepared to move past it because that’s the only way you can build trust. If you keep holding on to the shit someone did in the past, you guys will never move forward. I’ve had my own fair share of lies, betrayal and all that, but I always give a fresh slate. So whenever something is done to me, I always get shocked and that’s because I still trust you. Trust is really important.
Me: I saw this question online but if you were to pick one between love and trust, would you pick trust over love?
HJ: No, I would pick love because with love comes trust. They come hand in hand with each other. Yeah, I could trust you but that does not necessarily mean I love or am in love with you.
ME: Do you believe you should compromise?
HJ: What exactly does that mean? Well, you guys are two entirely different people and would definitely never always agree on the same virtues in life, but as long as it is towards a good cause (i.e. you are not asking me to steal, kill or destroy) then yeah, compromise.
Often I have battled this question with my friends where we discuss this idea of soulmates beaten into our heads from birth. Some of us have unlearned the idea completely while others, like me, still hold on to it because we believe it is a product of fate where everything is predestined. The argument against the idea is- it is a social construct, and in a world of over 7 billion people, it is absurd for only one person to be destined for you and that person just happens to be in your city. I decided to put this question forward to Hajarat.
Me: Do you believe in the idea of soulmates?
HJ: That question is a bit weird, and I think it is because the word ‘soulmate’ makes it sound weird. but I definitely believe people are destined to be with each other.
Me: So you believe you can only have one soulmate in your entire life?
HJ: Yes, I believe so. I believe as young, growing adults we get to a certain point in life where we feel like we need someone. We get someone and like the idea of having them in our lives, but when it comes to the real deal- settling and working on a relationship, you realise you only liked the idea of, comfort and companionship that comes with that person. You are not necessarily in love with that person, like if that person was dying right now, would you actually give that person a kidney? There are only a few people, or just one person that we can make those type of sacrifices for in life. I would like to believe that the person is either my soulmate or my mother, the person that gave me life. There’s only so far we can bend our backs for people and I believe it only comes with the person that gave you life or the person that would be there for the process of bringing another to life.
Me: So you can’t love more than one person at a time?
HJ: I definitely can’t love more than one person at a time. I definitely don’t think I can love more than one person at all. Over time, I realised I didn’t actually love all those people. I only liked them or the idea of having them and their companionship in my life at that time; It was good but it wasn’t that lit, to be honest.
Visit Hajarat’s instablog here: http://instagram.com/vibingwithhajjo
Photo Credit: Dami Ayo-Vaughan and Lamide O-Bello.