Progress as has been defined through scholarly works and life lessons is going forward in a straight line and if the road may curve, it should do so slightly and still lead forward. But this is not always how life plays out for some people and so when we compare our lives we fall short of the standards.
My life is the epitome of life playing out in the reverse. Life was cruising well, then I hit a bump on the road and then the car stopped, and then it stalled on the road and then …… basically the detour is like taking a back road and slowly realising that you may actually be heading backwards. And I have spent so much time beating myself whilst comparing my life with everyone around me wondering why my progress was not like everybody else’s. Interesting how during a comparison contest you use their highlight reel while using your entire movie. And then you get yourself in the dumps and ….
… the the light bulb comes on and I realised life is not linear and progress can be imperfect. One does not have to get to the destination using one straight road, you can take the detour that leads you almost to where you started, you can stop by the roadside and watch others pass you by and sometimes you will get lost. This does not mean you are not making progress, it just means your progress is different, that your life lessons are different and that you are truly alive since each one of us is meant to bring something different to the table.
And so in the next half year, I am embracing my imperfect progress.
What happens when our minds do not act normal?
It takes a lot of courage to say something is wrong because we are not permitted to say our minds have gone left. Our minds are these divine attachments to our physical bodies that should not be scared but unfortunately time and time again it is proven that the mind too needs rest, care and sometimes help.
I sat with someone the other day who apologised for an anxiety attack and that broke my heart. How many of us would not say “I am sorry I have a headache.” My heart did not just break for the individual but for myself. For the number of times my mind raced, paced and went to un-normal places and I told myself that asking for help would be an intrusion. That people would think of me as a burden. In a season where everyone is talking about suicide, mental health, reaching out to friends and family, checking on the strong friend etc etc, perhaps we first need to make sure we are a safe place for stressed out minds. Reaching out is a noble idea but you have to be a safe place. Safe places not only listen but also do not cause extra harm. Safe places don’t ask you to snap out of it and want to talk you out of the moment. Safe places are safe.
How about we pick up literature on the mind and how it works. Develop real empathy and accept that in some occasions God chose you as the Jesus of the moment., which means you cannot just say a prayer and let it be. And when we know nothing, being silent and present is also an option.
Let us be human and allow others to bring their unadulterated humanity to the table.
Storms do end …. some with as much force as they begun.. others, with a slow ebb making the comparison with the build up . Sometimes we do not know whether the storm is over or it took a break to return. And life does mimic this pattern in certain seasons, when you see a ray of light or a door open and you get a breather but you do not inhale deeply or take a seat, since you are not sure on whether the good fortune will last or this is just a pause before the next round of the fight.
I do wish I was a better writer, like my hero and heroine authors whose words have depth and sense. Whose sentences flow effortlessly. Master communicators. Of which I am not, hence the struggle with this blog. The anxiety that what I am writing is not as beautiful as theirs stops my typing. Comparison. Not that I am competing but when it is all said and done, I read what I write and that matters because I love beautifully written work.
I took a trip to a place I always wanted to visit. Homage of sorts and I loved it, moreso, the who I took the trip with and the memories we made. I do not know if this was as a big a deal to the other as it was to me. I did not ask because I did not want to burst my own bubble and change the memory. It is those little things that give us hope, when life hands you a gift and you unwrap it and are filled with joy.
Experiences cannot be bottled and so they remain memories to feed on when you are not sure if the storm is over or it just took a break.
There comes a moment in life when you realise that you have become fragile.
That was not the plan only that you fought life so much and so hard and all of a sudden things people say or do rub you the wrong way. Not the wrong way normal offensive (sp) but you just easily get offended over things that you would have not noticed or stuff you would quickly get over. You become ’emotional’ and ‘angry’. Hard to understand even to yourself. It is then that you admit that life does not just happen. Life with it’s mountains and valleys demands audience and if you do not heed the call, you may be found flat on your back spewing emotions that would shock you.
Self care is very easy to pencil in when all is going well but when the earth shakes we put it to the back burner, waiting for the right time to get back on the bandwagon. Would it not make more sense to put in more time to listen to our souls when the sirens go off?
But even as we self care, it is important for those around to approach with empathy. Fragile souls call for kid gloves. Yes, the day for bare knuckled fights will come but for rough seasons, empathy triumphs. Help should be that: HELP. If your version of help is to wear a spirit out then wisdom would dictate that you choose silence and disappearance. Too many people walk about dispensing selfishness in the name of help and leaving fragile souls worse for wear. A fine way to check if you are walking in empathy is whether you would offer the same prescription if you were the one in the predicament.
Life is all about seasons.
It is amazing how a phone can become part of your being; an attachment to your arm per se. But what happens when the phone starts failing and you are not in a position to exchange it for the iPhone 7plus matt black of your dreams? You make hard decisions.
My beloved handset has fallen many times, but the last time seemed to have been a mighty one. It just would go off when it wanted and then immediately come back on, leaving me puzzled on what could be the reason. I also noticed that depending on the activity I had, the phone’s juice would just end.
But there is also another side to the story, for the longest time, I have wondered if I was having real conversations with real friends. Social media and with great leaning to WhatsApp means we converse in groups and make WhatsApp friends. Nice and awesome but ….. opens up to a level of fakery. I was in many WhatsApp groups and I validated my presence with words such as ‘networking’ , ‘making new friends’, ‘keeping in touch’, etc etc, but the more life happened and adulating became difficult, I started wondering why I felt so alone yet so connected. Why I felt ‘busy’ on days when I did nothing. Or why I would be upset on a day when my life was chilled. I had to admit that my life had become wrapped up in WhatsApp and all its shenanigans. It is not that messaging apps or social media is bad, it was just that I was soooo caught it in it that rest was elusive.
Back to the handset …. Well, given the symptoms, radicle decisions had to be made. And the one thing that consumed the most power had to go. And that is how my WhatsApp account was deleted one Saturday afternoon. What a relief! I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I picked a book again, discovered a new business idea I wanted to pursue and was able to just chill and forget to check the phone for hours on end because if it is not ringing then it does not need my attention.
I did return to WhatsApp, one week later. It is a necessity in some of the stuff I do but I am not in any group, still maintaining my peace and maintaining the health of my handset. And when I get that new handset, I doubt I will get into the whole community group thing.
I took a break. It was not meant to stretch for days. I was meant to have one day of nothingness but 1 turned into 5 …. and so I did not post anything last week. I needed the break, I had gotten super anxious and to prevent losing my mind I decided to chill and just enjoy the moment.
In the zero sum thinking days I realised that we are taught forgiveness in a certain warped manner. Sorry is told to others as we strive to make it right but we don’t spend all our life with others, shouldn’t forgiveness be first taught towards ourselves. We constantly make decisions on what to eat, what time to sleep, what to wear, which job to take or not take, who to date etc and sometimes it does not work out. Life will tell you to apologise to everyone else other than YOU who made the decision. How then do we expect people to take full responsibility for their actions when they are not told that apologising to THEIRSELVES is an acceptable option. No wonder we have people blaming everything under the sun because forgiveness for ALL is really not included in the package.
So I forgave myself for all decisions I made that did not pan out. And with this, I realised that all those who I claimed I forgave were finally 100% forgiven because I had nothing to hold on to. Acceptance is the first step they say …well accept you erred. Dust yourself, trust yourself and enda tu!
I also discovered I love brewed coffee in the morning.
It is amazing how you can incapacitate yourself and not make a decision. You know what you want to say, why you want to say it but hope that somehow something will change that will invalidate your experience.
That is how I have spent my week. Wondering why I did not decline the continuation of a business conversation when I could clearly see it was headed nowhere financially and that the person across the table was psychotic, disrespectful and his negativity was seeping into my life.
Interestingly enough, I decided to use the one thing I knew would send the adversary scurrying away. Money! If you tell me “We/I have money!”, life has taught me that your budget is closer to zero. People with money don’t focus on numbers at the outset, they discuss output and strategy. So, when I quoted a sum, I was calling a bluff and yes, it worked. But why waste my time? Why not just say “I am sorry I cannot work with you because our cultures do not complement each other.” That statement is a nice way of saying “I think you are a psycho and I do not need your evil vibes in my life!” But, I did not write that even when my upsettedness was reaching incredible levels because of rude queries that questioned my competence and ethics due to a paranoid mind. It was not that I wanted to be liked, I just wanted something to do. Something to talk about with my peers; to show that my life is not at a complete standstill. To tell myself that I am trying and growing and learning something new, when I am not.
It is weird how one can be highly intuitive and still need fire and smoke to prove they are right. It is also unfortunate how you can waste your own time and then be upset more so from not having stopped the charade early enough than the loss of income.
We live and learn. Though some lessons are unnecessary and expensive. But, sometimes we live and learn that corridors are lonely and boring when there is no open door in sight.