Rock, Paper, Scissors

Scissors cut paper, paper covers rock and rock breaks scissors. Such meaningful simplicity. The kind you search for many times (several times on Mondays) but never really fully come to again. I miss the ease that was childhood. Although I do recall several times I believe it was a fearlessly selfish era laced with just enough doses of cute and cuddly to blissfully be self seeking, unforgiving and indispensable all at once. Oh the bliss and the tyranny of the free era. With the years comes a weight of thought that is hard to escape from at best. Life is clearly not a walk in the park. Yes, all those lyrics lured us into bubbles that cannot hold in the gravity we live in now.

This lane is not so bad though. The greatest irony I am coming to terms with, is that there is no such thing as running from. Only postponing the time it will take to come to full circle. In retrospect, I recall my running phases with a lot of amusement. I am not much of a runner. The few times I have tried to pull off any such exercise have led to devastating effects. Not kidding – I have fractured my foot once, massively sprained it twice and get this –  almost got run over a  couple of minutes after leaving the gym. I kid you not. I should have taken the hint – I am not meant for running. But yet I still do. I particularly remember this one phase where I just kept running from the obligations of religion and all that I perceived to come with it.

See, I grew up in the nineties when ‘revivals’ were in plenty – though I still do not fully understand what that truly meant (or why just that one word? Why not an explanatory sentence right after it? What was a revival anyway?) I knew enough to know it supercharged atmospheres and caused many a parent to leave their children behind (or worse, go with) to an unmentionable number of church services. If your folks were really into it, your friend list would be reviewed and cut down to the chosen few that were ‘aligned in spirit.’ Revival things. I am not sure I understood much at the time but it was planted in me right about then that religion was important. So important that it had the single unarguable pass to shatter one’s axis and claim one’s attention so much that children grew up unattended or on their own much like weeds would and life continued even in the bursts of one’s absence. So I feared it increasingly until I did what I know not to do, run. And in that time I still thought a lot of what I did not want to become – detached. But as all troubled souls are prone to do, one thing is replaced by another and work was what I poured myself into. The circle was still coming to, I just did not see it coming. I did not see that in running I was becoming exactly what I did not want to be. I left myself unattended and life,as always, moved on.

From my childhoods eyes, religion was the problem – but it really wasn’t. I have memories of babysitting myself and watching a massive amount of Oprah. I remember reading through too many books and copies of the readers digests and collecting recipes (Also running up the electric bill with all that experimental baking). I remember being alone a lot but somehow, I do not remember being lonely. I have been ‘diagnosed’ with a dwarfed social IQ by some and a massive by others so I think it is safe to say it all turned out alright, revival and all. I am now trotting across many lines trying to make  a life I can live in and yes, I do wish I had had more time to spend with my family. Not at revivals, but at home. Learning who they are and just being a child – attended to. Not alone. But I am slow to cast blame because no one wakes up every morning wanting to make the worst out of their days or anyone’s at that . One does what one knows to be best at the time.

I am learning that life happens and I can only try to unravel the foundations that underlie mine in the hope that I will understand myself better, and be a better version of me because of it. That is all we have strength to do at the end of the day, no? Rock, paper, scissors – today I got paper so I cover the rocks and wait for tomorrow. What it will bring, I will use. I will not run; the universe clearly frowns upon it. Do the best you can to learn, to forgive and to keep afloat. It may be hard as hell. Or it may just may be as simple as a game of rock, paper, scissors.

 

You will Be Enough

You may not believe this but I have never had many friends. I am friendly with many but friends whose connection last? Those I have always had a habit of having a few at a time.

When I was younger, I was a pretty intense child. Though no longer a child, I think I still am. I always had a lot of what I wanted at a particular point figured out or figured out for me. Somehow, I still do. I know that may sound strange but then I have always been a thinker and a bit (okay a lot) of a worrier and so yes, I kind of always did. I also have always taken life a little bit, well a lot, too seriously; mostly because I heard at a very early age that you only get one shot at it and for someone who always wanted to get it right, I guess many forms of paranoia set in. And because perfection was demanded of me and I successfully delivered albeit most times. But friends and friendship? Those are concepts I came to really understand and appreciate much later in life Nnwa.

In retrospect, I think I lost the concept of these words when as a 4th grader or thereabout, my then teacher asked everyone in class to write about their best friend – which I did. Only to find out much later, when everyone had to read a bit of his or her essay aloud, that I had written about someone who had written about someone else. I was a bit confused of course and now that I think about it, later hurt not because I claimed sole exclusivity of any sort over this human but because the sniggering that followed told me something I had not known before. I was a friendly child but I had no actual friends – at least not in the 4th grader understanding of the word.

You see, I was almost always surrounded by people that found me aloof in some way. Perhaps it was even because I always had a brother or two around watching over me and that, I suppose, scared the little humans. Maybe it was because I was almost always buried in a book or to much television and sometimes thought or spoke as though I belonged to other realms or maybe I was just not as good at making friends as I thought. It could have been any of these things, or none. I don’t know. I remember wanting to fit in and wanting to be the one with the best friend.

It may be different in your time but in mine, that was a 4th Grade necessity I thought. I wanted to morph into someone more acceptable. Someone more relatable. Someone they would find worthy. (See? Intense child right there) Maybe then, I thought, I would be that kid. I also remember your grandmother saying to me, often after my rants, that I was enough. Over drive imagination, stubborn personality et al. That being liked is not something a child needed. All I needed was to know that I was enough she said. To young ears, she sounded like she lacked empathy at the time but I am glad she did not cuddle me to believing otherwise. Because I was just a child becoming many things and to have believed at that age that I needed to sate this innate craving to be liked by everyone saved me from myself. She believed many things but she did not believe that likeable is a thing I should have strived to be and so I did not. I was kind when I was shown kindness, smart because I was my parents’ child, tough because I learnt too soon that there are really no teams – I was on my own and that was okay too.

Much later I began to understand what friendship meant and I made a few. It was at this time I also learnt that I was doing it wrong in many ways before. I understood that it was not about having someone to write about in an essay, someone or someone to queue on the lunch lines with. I learnt friends were not people that stood by you because they felt, somehow, that they had to but because they chose to. My 4th grade self did not know it was a choice. She pretty much figured it was a right that came with the school package I guess. As I grew older Nnwa, I understood myself, I understood others and I have met some pretty interesting humans. Some have come and gone and that’s okay. Their season came and bloomed and I am forever thankful for that. Some came and stayed. Those ones you will meet. Your aunts and uncles they will be.

I wrote this for you because I know I will want to give you too much that in doing so I will forget to give you even much more. You will be your mother’s daughter. Perhaps your own will be a more carefree spirit free of thoughts and fears of what lurks in the places we cannot see. Perhaps you will be spared the curse of the over active mind. But then again, you will be your mother’s daughter. So I tell you this: likeable is not something you need to strive to be. Be kind. Be patient. Be honest. Be loving. Have empathy. Those are things to strive for. Be you – you are enough.  The friends will come and go. Sometimes in unequal proportion. You will have some for seasons and some for a day. So just be, some things you will learn along the way. And one of them, is that a lot of things top being likeable. And one of them is choosing to be you. Every day.

Yes, Nnwa. Selfish. Be Selfish.

Nnwa, it is said that if you lie down for them to walk on you, they will say you did not lie down flat enough. Nobody is born wise but it should not take you half a lifetime to realise that you matter and yes, for you, you should be first.

Selfish. Yes I said it. Be selfish. lack consideration of others enough to first consider yourself. Serve yourself first. No matter what the voices will tell you, there is no shame in putting yourself first.

You will be a girl first. And then you will be a woman. All will have to fight many demons in this life but none more than you. When I will birth you, they will give me blinkers. They will tell me they are for your own good and they will be beautiful laced but that will not change what they are. They will tell me you need them because, you are a girl. You may be distracted or panicked by this life and so you do not to see the side or the rear. They will tell me, and later you, that this or that is because you are a girl. You will be a woman. Therefore you have to be a certain way.

These unsolicited voices, will tell you how to walk and who to walk with. They will tell you what you should look like and how you should be because a girl, who will become a woman needs to be a certain way. They will say a girl, who will become a woman many times as though such multiple declarations will stop you from being the shoe you were (unknown to your mother and to you), purposed to grow into.

They will be pleased when you succeed a little or enough but not too much. With the same voice they will cheer and feign pride they will tsk tsk and say you are too much for a girl who will become a woman. Too strong. Too smart. Too decisive. Too aspiring. Too ambitious. Too feminine. Too much. They will say it with their words and with their eyes and if they do not say it they will whisper it with their words and with their eyes and if they do not whisper it they will write it with their words and with their eyes. Because you are a girl who will become a woman. And they will constantly say you need to be a certain way.

They will tell you to be selfless. To give of everything you can give because a girl who will become a woman should learn to give. selflessly they will tell you, is without expecting to receive. It is just what a girl who will become a woman should know to do. They will tell you to do as told because questions about why now or why ever are not becoming of a girl who will become a woman. They will teach you how to say yes so much you will not know to say no is equally as freeing. They will teach you a girl who will become a woman should shut her legs but they will also teach you a woman is as much as her bottom power. They will teach you to say yes Nnwa, they will teach you to give of yourself without abandon until they will also ask why you gave so much, why you never said no. They are the voices. They will say this until they decide to say that.

You my child, will be a girl who will become a woman and from the time we will have you till the time we will leave, you will be smothered by voices that will say this until they decide to say that because they will say but this is what a girl who will become a woman should be. Nnwa, this is why you should learn to be selfish. Yes, nnwa. Selfish. Be selfish but do not forget if you are filled with pride you will have no room for wisdom. I will not have a foolish child so listen proper Nnwa. You will not be proud or haughty or lack empathy. You will not lack love or happiness enough for you and others. You will be your mother’s child. What your mother is saying is that just as your right hand will be quick to offer to another, it should be quick to first give to your left. Just as you will build others, you will remember that first, always first – you build yourself.

No one will ever claim their neighbours house just because they laboured for its foundation. What is theirs is theirs. So even as you give, remember what is yours is yours.  Just as you will remember to love another, you will know to first, selfishly and unapologetically so, to love yourself.

Do not stand in the open fields and let the winds blow parts of you away. Run in the wind, lay in the sun and remember, when it blows it takes. When it shines it burns. They do not because they have no heart but because it is who they are. It is what they do. So run in the wind and lay in the sun but cloak yourself so even if some is taken or given, if some is burnt or lost, most remains.

At the end of the day, only you are responsible for you. And building every other at your expense will, like dusk, only heighten the crickets songs about you in the cool. But when the sun returns, they quiet. And you will be alone. What will you dance to if you do not know enough to have had your own song?

You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. That is why I am writing to you now. Before your ears learn to listen Nnwa, i have told you – be selfish. Concern yourself chiefly with what will fill you simply because in all truth no one else will.

 

 

 

You Will be the Fire.

Nnwa, forgive your mother for her rambling. I would still my tongue if I was confident that when the time would come, I would forget nothing that ever i said I must speak to you of. Forgive me and listen for what you will not need today, you may need tomorrow. You will go through many seasons in this your life. Many seasons. Some will have plenty, others will have lack. Some will be just fine and others would make a fool wish there would be no tomorrow. It is true what is said, one must learn to live with much and with little. For who is a man to say what his own will be tomorrow? To think fate is ones friend is to set oneself on the path to an early grave. I wish more for you than that.

I wish for you understanding, patience and the kind of soul that does not wait for the wind to fan its flames. Because this life is written by many hands. The gods will have their say. So will the voices in the winds and in the earth. So will those of men deem themselves sculptors of what they do not fully understand. They will all want to spit and not have it dry because a man’s life, who is to say whose voice it will yield to? Even in these times Nnwa, let not your faith shiver in the cold because what shivers will surely die. Even when moved with great sorrows do not set the world on fire. A fool would burn his mat before nightfall or take a battle against the gods. And me, I will not bear a fool. Of that i am sure. So I beg, listen when you still have ears to hear because a time will come when even my voice will not stir you. Listen now and perhaps when it does, you will have heard enough to remember.

It is what life is for everyone; to have both day and night, both sunshine and rain. It is what it is for every man Nnwa and your own will not be different. But it has always been the reserve of man that which he will do with what he has of each. Decide early enough you will go under, over or through until you get to the next field of air were your soul can breathe until you have to move again. Always decide early because death comes swiftly. Death does not know to knock and give one time to open his own door.

I told you before that I wish you the kind of soul that needs not the winds to fan its flames. If anything nyathiwa, I wish you this. You may not understand your mother now but she knows enough to know it is the riskiest thing to be set alight but it is not living when you are not burning long enough to be formed of fire herself. For who can burn fire? Not even winter when it comes, and it surely will. Who can stop a soul that burns for itself? Not even magic can tame it. Not even men that think themselves gods.

Perhaps I wish many things for you because I fear. I find myself afraid for you more than I care to admit. It is strange. This caring of another more than you could ever find to care for yourself. Perhaps it is because I fear the very death I have warned you about and yet; I wouldn’t mind this dying so much if I knew for certain this to be true. That for a lifetime Nnwa, you will be the fire.

 

My Madam

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I my mother after all?

Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my mum. To my little eyes, she defined perfection – except of course when I was getting spanked for running off to the neighbor without seeking her consent first (not that I was doing anything at home anyway :)).

My mum didn’t respond to tantrums; so I didn’t throw many. She believed in loving her kids, bringing them up in the fear and knowledge of God (to my little self, mostly fear), spoiling them when she could and spanking them when she should. And there was always a gift for me under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, there always was that ladybird book or that dress she made.

When I was growing up, mum was always on the move. She was a teacher, still is, and a tailor cum farmer on the side. I have pictures of me in home knit sweaters and dresses she stitched up herself and yes; I believe growing ‘sukuma’ and keeping a few chicken always comes in handy because it’s the only way I know how. I remember the afternoons she was neither in church or chama, when I had her all to myself and we’d watch an old movie or read old copies of Readers’ Digests. One of us always fell asleep halfway and it was the others ‘responsibility’ to fill the other in on how the movie ended.

I’m not so little any more. I don’t want to be a teacher or a tailor; but I love reading and I sure do love clothes! I don’t prefer tantrums, I still don’t throw many but I’ve been known to give in to a few to keep the peace. I still believe in kitchen gardens and keeping some chicken. I still read, watch movies and sometimes fall asleep somewhere in between. I believe in Christmas and Christmas trees with gifts from ‘Santa’ underneath because what’s Christmas without gift wrappings and the scent of fresh pine filling the house? I read when I can, even as I eat, and if you stay around her long enough; you’d see that she does too. Best of all, she laughs and she loves and of these I did learn from the best.

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I my mother after all?

Am I growing up into her? No. Pieces of the same fabrics, different quilt altogether. And boy am I glad that when I look at her, I see parts of what I will be. Is she perfect? No, she’s human; one human I’m glad I’m almost growing up into.

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Nnwa, it is Sunday…

 

Nyathiwa, today is Sunday. As I watch mama nani walk into church with her beautiful twins in tow, I cannot help but smile and think of you. I hope you will not be the kind that finds every reason to fuss because I cannot spend your first few months sitting at the back pew and walking out every few minutes. I can’t. But mostly, today I find myself thinking of you and faith and church and God.

I will teach you all I know to share about God, about love and about life. I pray each day they will be one of the foundations of your life. Foundation nnwa, that which you build the rest of your life on. I did not say lock and key. I did not say blinder. I did not say religion. I did not. Foundation, that which you build your life on because you will need a strong one if you are to grow as far as I see for you. I do not know any other stronger than faith.

I would love to teach you colour because contrary to what I may find verses to reinforce, life will never come in black and white. There is a disillusionment that overcomes those that feel that they ‘paid the price’ and have nothing of the life they had bought that I never want you to feel. It is dangerous, this faith business. Dangerous when you see it as currency. Nyathiwa, it is not. It is not. What I learnt with age I want you to learn with words. That is why I will teach you to be connected to faith not because it is a means to an end but because it is a floater that will keep you safe till you get to the shores no matter how high the tides. Faith more than people, faith more than community because faith you know will always be there.

1

 

I do not think people separate you from God Nnwa. You separate yourself. Slowly but surely, you separate yourself. Like every relationship that dies, you stop talking, you stop arguing, and you stop spending time together. That is when you stop seeing them. Slowly but surely, they fade away and that is not because people stood in your way. It is because you did. With faith, like with many things in life, do not be afraid to lose your way. Do not be afraid to separate, to doubt and question, to stand in your way, to make mistakes and live a full life. There is no such thing as perfection Nnwa; keep away from such crippling thoughts. You were born to live and to live is to find a little bit of yourself each day and for this there is no shame. Never blame people; never blame yourself when you need to find cause because of the moments you cannot see God anymore. Move out of your way the same way you stood in it. Find it, wherever it will lead, the same way you lost it. There is nothing new under the sun.

I will take you to church. You will love it when you are younger because you will be that baby everyone fawns over and queues to carry. You will love it when you are old enough to sing and doodle and colour everywhere apart from inside the lines of the 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread drawn for you. You will love it when you begin to learn the outdoors and all you want is for Sunday school to be over so you can go out and play. Then you will start to think for yourself. To question. There is nothing wrong with that. Then maybe you will not like it so much anymore. Maybe we will fight about it, maybe we won’t. I do not know. All I know is I will need you to know this God. What you will do with that knowledge will be your own. If you will be anything like me, you will ask a lot of questions and I will do my best to help you understand what I can. You will take a faith sabbatical at some point perhaps because you are tired of feeling like you have to suffer to be ‘of the kingdom’. You will lose your way not once or twice, to find it again. When this happens, do not beat yourself up, it is what we call life and it is okay. Lose yourself again and again until you find that what you need is not religion. You will need more than a belief or a faith system; you will need a relationship. And when you find that to be true, then you will understand why mama said it is a foundation.

 

No Shame

It is not customary to speak of weakness Nnwa. It is not. Even if that weakness is not of your own, even if that weakness is what you need to let pass on its own. So I will tell you this once.

I remember clearly. That day. Ordinary, just enough sun, the perfect beginning for a weekend. I love to stay in bed when I can and catch up on a chapter or two, or one of the week’s papers, maybe even run through the online streets. And so I did. I knew I had been under a lot of pressure. Work, school, family – there was a lot of flipping events in that time but I always had it under control somehow and on that day, I just needed to kick back. I thought. When you are not attuned to chaos, you do not see that you are in the heart of a hurricane until it flings you out of its eye and on to the currents. At least that is what it felt like.

One trigger. That was all it took to bring the tower down. They do not teach you how to breathe when you are dying Nnwa. Some things, you will find out, you learn on your own. In retrospect, I do not know how I did not see it coming and for a long time after, this one thought battered me. Why wasn’t I prepared for this? I read later that they can be sudden, frightening and often for no clear reason Nnwa. Panic attacks are sneaky like that. They like to take you by surprise. But how was I supposed to know they happened to regular people?

pan·ic at·tack

noun

a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.

I had my book in my hand but I figured it would make more sense to see if there was anything new online first. Ping. I cannot ignore notifications because for some strange reason I feel like it is akin to refusing to look someone in their eyes when they call your name. I would have been alright on any other day I think. Dealing with shitty emails is becoming an expected adulting skill these days anyways and me, I am quite the decorum slayer. But it just had to be sent on this one day I was closer to the edge than I thought possible.

I do not know if it was fury, disappointment or betrayal I felt first. There was too much emotion to separate one from another. I remember not being able to stop shaking. I remember letting my phone fling to the floor. I remember breathing and not breathing at the same time. I have seen movie scenes where an abducted child tried to scream and bang the windows so the neighbour jogging by would come and help. I figured that is what I felt like when I tried to cry and speak and nothing could make it out. I have no idea how long I lay there betrayed by my own body. Unable to move, unable to speak, unable to reach my phone and locked in because that is what you do when you go to bed every night – lock up. It was surreal mostly because I partly felt like an observer. My neighbour had a set of my keys so she could have helped but there was no way `i could reach her. And then what would I tell her was happening? ‘Hi, could you come over I am….what? Breaking down?’. There is no way to make that sound right…

When I did move, did breathe all I could do was cry. That was the first of a few. I only knew months later what they actually were. In between, I was mostly ashamed for losing control. Partly thought there was finally something wrong in my head. Funny how an attacker flips the blame on you; even funnier how you agree it is true.

It took a while to realise I had too much on my mind than I needed; too much on my plate than I needed. Took even more time till I established my triggers and started from there. Dr. Google helped much. I did not know these were things people asked for help for. Also, I am not very attuned to talking through problems. I was cultured to know you keep your problems close until you think them through and solve them, then perhaps, talk about them.

Nnwa, you have a 50/50 chance of picking up a lot of who I am. This means you will have a great mind, you will be wired to achieve and think through everything and unfortunately, you might be, like me, ill prepared to think through anything that causes you pain. Those ones you will probably lock up until you have no choice but to unpackage and maybe then, finally think through them.  I will tell you how this system works someday. Your mind will be your blessing and your curse. I hope you do not keep so much that it bursts out. I hope somehow, you learn to let things go. Learn that even the strong ones need a rest sometime.

You will be strong. You will have a big heart. You will be an amazing woman. Always remember nothing is worth losing your peace over. You will not get to choose what you get from life most days; but you will get to choose to let go of things before they are too heavy to hold. You will get to choose to reach out and find help when you can. If ever you find you can’t, remember there is no shame, no shame in losing it when its too much. Let it pass over, breathe and let it go. Then start again. They say you should practice calm breathing, relax your body and what not – which is helpful but at that particular time, redundant. The best way there is is to be happy. Every day, choose happiness and peace; wire yourself in such a way that you have no time for anything but that which makes you happier, smarter and stronger. Run away from things only to gain enough strength to face them again. Do not be an ostrich Nnwa. The ground above the sand will catch fire. Fire has no mercy, when it does you will burn along with it.

There is an increasing pressure in my time to have it all and then some. To be at the best of it all all the time. It is ridiculous really, this notion. It sets us on paths of self-ignorance and causes us to push ourselves mercilessly beyond borders. The worst of it has to be that it makes us think of ourselves less and pushes us more toward the ‘bigger picture’ leaving most of us battered and disillusioned at many stops of life because we just cannot figure out why we give so much and get so little. Yet therein is the problem. We give so much that we have nothing left for us. I do not know how your own world will be Nnwa but I know you will need to learn to be a little selfish if you want to remain sane. Give of your time but have some for yourself. Give of your expertise, your joy, your energy but only after you hold back some for yourself. Because when you have more than you give, you are free to see when you are not well enough. Free to see when you need to stop and breathe and enjoy the sun.Because when you have given until they are full, it is you that remains a hollow shell.

We were not invincible because we are strong. We are because we fall many times, fall apart some times but always get it back together. Somehow. it is what the best of us do. Take a break once in a while (a lot), choose the energy you allow around you, do not let your work enslave you and the need for perfection, that we will need an entire sit down to go over because I fear many things amongst which is feeding you the lie that is living the perfect life in the hope of receiving a perfect end. The world does not work that way anymore; if ever it did.  You should come first and that is not selfishness or whatever else they will tell you. That is survival. If anything, I need you to believe there is no shame in striving to be happy and letting go of what you find to be your triggers Nnwa, no shame.

 

Do not Fear what you know Will come

Nnwa,

Your people say death is like a robe everyone has to wear. They say that life is the beginning of death. So as it is, my fear is unfounded because what I fear, i live. Yet I still cannot bring myself to think that I will one day lose you; no, you will one day lose me because it is not right for a mother to bury her child. If it tears me inside to lose whom I have not held, I know you can tell to lose who I already have is not twice or thrice that pain. It is a million times that then again.

I do not like to mention death. Even thinking about it I can’t. Unless it is one of these few times such as this that it forces me to look it in the eyes; eyes that demand I understand it is what it is. Even death cannot help itself. I call it a thief, yet I am no longer certain if it steals or it takes.

These have been tough days Nnwa. I find myself thinking if I could shield you from anything, any one thing. It would not be the pain of a broken heart. It would be the sting of death because a heart, we can mend. But the sickness that sting causes to invade a soul even I do not know how to cure, how to stop. They will tell you if you carry the egg basket, do not dance. But what is life without the shaking of shoulders, the swaying of hips, the claps and shouts and stomping of feet. What is life if lived in the fear that it will fall, that it will break. But what is life if it breaks anyway? I do not seek answers from you. Your mother just needed to speak and hear her own voice. To ease one door open and ease the voices in her head.

It is strange, this cycle of life. It is happiness, it is space, it is drifting to a better place. It is madness, it is joy, it is fear and it is pain. It is understanding and then it is not. It is birth, it is bliss, it is death. I can only hope that God will grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. And that He will grant you immortality or give you a heart like your father so you may not fear what you know will come. Perhaps this fear, will for me, become a heavy shroud, shielding me from the end.

Move some of that Clutter Around

I read today that a teenage instagram celebrity had quit social media but/and launched a website to raise awareness on how much it can take its toll on you (if I remember correctly). Beyond her article, video and frankness on some of the captions she edited to show what was really going on behind the scenes with all the pressure she was under to paint these perfect pictures, the commentaries made an interesting read. I think what tickled and surprised me in equal measure was the seeming shock that came as a result of her brave announcement. It made me recall this picture where there’s someone reading, lost in an actual book in a plane and everyone around her taking photos because that is how swimming against the current looks now.  It had not occurred to me that being ‘live’ has become a thing (I had also not known we have instagram models or celebrities, now I do) but that this is not really about Essena  (you can catch up on her story here.) Its about how she made me think of what else I have not thought about as ‘a thing’ that has now crowded the space that is my life.

Living alone has its perks but one of the downsides are that after long days, when you are too tired to talk or text (yes, that is a thing), you catch up with people by following what they have been sharing all day. On a good day, there’s some interesting stuff in there. Not just the new car selfies or the fashion and foody pics or the relationship trails. Some days we learn you finally got that promotion or that you just watched a movie we all should (and hope that your review will not cost us  a fifty and hours we can never get back) or that you had a really awesome experience to share. Some days we laugh at the hilarious memes you share – where do you get those? Or sober up for a couple of minutes, thump our chests and soak in the encouragement when we read that quote you posted from pinterest on making it through the darkness or hanging in there because something good is in the making and what not. Then there are those days that we cry because we learn you lost someone or you’re going through a really rough patch or you just got out of surgery and we want to be there to cry and walk it out with you. We are not sad that we learnt of it online, we just want to be there. On those days, no matter how tired we are, we call, we text, we talk. So yes, I can understand how our online presence run parallel to our actual lives and sometimes even seem to take over more ground than we care to admit. I can only imagine how much more for a teenager born at the height of the info-age – it must be crazy.

I realized then that I understand why her announcement was that – an announcement and why it sent ripples across her world. She had it all but was choosing outside of the norm and right then, I wished her Godspeed. She might want to keep off the website part and detox for a little while but then again, she might not. Bottom line – we need more people that remember they can always make that daring turn to head upstream. No matter what poison you picked, it is worth it – that shot at getting away from it all.

So today I am thinking and looking to see what clutter is clogging this life. It is definitely not instagram (not on that pro-lane anyway) but it is something (s) and I need to make my own upstream choices soon; very soon. As it is, the whole superwoman, juggling thing is not working out so well. My system is shutting down alarmingly fast and not even several cups of tea can fix it. I need to find a new working formula to either keep me running for the next couple of months or overhaul the entire system – but then again where is the time (says one of the people in my head). As luck would have it, this months read is all about that focus. I should have figured it out in about the same time it will take to go through it twice. Wish me luck and pause the stalking today, call, text, talk to someone. Catch up. Move some of that clutter around. One of us should.

Move Some of that Clutter Around

I read today that a teenage instagram celebrity had quit social media but/and launched a website to raise awareness about its effects  and how it took a toll on her (if I remember correctly). Beyond her article and frankness on some of the captions she edited to show what was really going on behind the scenes and the pressure she was under at the time, the commentaries made an interesting read. Some called it a crisis of conscience by the teen insta-star. I think what tickled and surprised me in equal measure was the seeming shock levels that came as a result of her brave announcement. (You can find a couple of takes on it here)  It made me recall this picture where there’s someone reading, lost in an actual book in a plane and everyone around her taking photos because that is how swimming against the current looks now. It had not occurred to me that this would become a thing (I had not known we now have instagram models or celebrities, now I do) but that made me think of what else I have not thought about as ‘a thing’ that has now crowded the space that is my life.

Living alone has its perks but one of the downsides are that after long days, when you are too tired to talk or text (yes, that is a thing), you catch up with people by following what they have been sharing all day. On a good day, there’s some interesting stuff in there. Not just the new car selfies or the fashion and foody pics or the relationship trails (I try not to post so much of those because I am thinking of you 😀 ). Some days we learn you finally got that promotion or that you just watched a movie we all should (and hope that your review will not cost us hours we cannot get back) or that you had a really awesome experience to share. Some days we laugh at the hilarious memes you share – where do you get those? Or sober up for a couple of minutes, thump our chests and soak in the encouragement after we read that quote you posted from pinterest on making it through the darkness or hanging in there because something good is in the making and what not. Then there are those days that we cry because we learn you lost someone or you’re going through a really rough patch or you just got out of surgery and we want to be there to cry and walk it out with you. We are not sad that we learnt of it online, we just want to be there. On those days, no matter how tired or disconnected we are, we call, we text, we talk. So yes, I can understand how our online presence run parallel to our actual lives and sometimes even seem to take over more ground than we care to admit. I can only imagine how much more for a teenager born at the peak of the info-age – it must be crazy. I realized then that I understand why her announcement was that – an announcement and why it sent ripples across her world. She had it all but was choosing outside of the norm and I wished her Godspeed. She might want to keep off the website part and detox for a little while but then again, she might not. Bottom line – we need more people that remember they can always make that daring turn to head upstream. No matter what poison you picked, it is worth it – that shot at getting away from it all.

So today I am thinking and looking to see what clutter is clogging this life. It is definitely not instagram (not at that pro-level lane anyway) but it is something (s) and I need to make my own upstream choices soon; very soon. As it is, the whole superwoman, juggling thing is not working out so well. My system is shutting down and no, even tea has not been able to help. So I need to find a new working formula to either keep me running for the next couple of months or overhaul the entire system – but then again where is the time (says one of the people in my head). As luck would have it, this months read is all about that focus. I should have figured it out in about the same time it will take to go through it twice. Wish me luck and pause the stalking today, call, text, talk to someone. Catch up. Move some of that clutter around. One of us should.