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.

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Live a little

When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor. In retrospect, I do not think this was because I loved the practice or anything; I actually realized later on I could not stand the sight of blood. I wanted to be a doctor because growing up, we were told both at home and at school, that doctors, lawyers, pilots and engineers were the ‘sky limit careers’ we should aim for. That was the bar. Teachers were considered a poor lot and teaching the last, last option. Now I’m a Human Resource Management Graduate working as a Program Assistant is a community Development oriented organization running mostly communication, monitoring and evaluation tasks. Go figure. When I was little, I had no idea either existed. My fall back plan was law ☺
When I was younger, I would never walk around after the lights went off and everyone was asleep. See, mum was – still is- an avid reader and she got us this big bedtime storybook with 365 stories. I read one story each night. In one of the stories, this little girl would hear noises in the night when everyone was asleep. Unlike me, she was a brave one. She walked up to the kitchen door and snuck a peek and voila their whole kitchen had come to life! It was the spoons, the stove, the pans….that were doing all the talking and get this-having a party! They would go ‘back to normal’ at first light. My little mind was excited when the story was read but froze over when I heard any sound after lights out. I would cover my head, hide under the covers and sing myself to sleep because in my version, the house and all in it were now alive and they might be coming for me. Haha! Yes, I did and still do have a mind with a life of its own ☺
When I was younger, I had a single view of many things. What Chimamanda would call my ‘one story’. I only knew one way of how to do things. What I knew, I saw and what I believed, I heard from those around me. So I would probably be a blood fearing doctor just now (haha!) and I would still believe things came alive at night, and therefore be afraid of the dark…and of the kitchen. In many ways, we had one story, one view of something that we only discovered was not the actual truth after we travelled down a different path. Such is what growing up brings.
I realize I have many ‘single stories’, attitudes and beliefs on a lot of things, experiences, people, places…of myself that don’t really hold water. Slowly, I’m learning new perspectives, forming new belief systems, understanding people, things and situations differently and maybe, dare I say, better because I’m getting to hear other stories. I’m getting to write one too….my own. We will always fear the unknown in a way but not everything in the unknown is out to get us right? There is nothing that comes alive in the darkness that is the unknown to ‘get you’ (well maybe there is but I’m setting a motivating aura here haha) …there is no reason to hide under the covers and sing ourselves away from embracing what could be our next big thing. And there is the light switch that is opening up our minds to the possibility that where not everything we know works, perhaps something waiting to be known will.
Here’s to learning new stories, breaking free of the danger that is living, believing and never questioning the single story. Here’s to learning, to creating change, to living a little – just a little. ☺