Worth

Stop giving your oxygen to people who can breathe just fine on their own.

-Ed Sheeran

There’s the lovers, the givers, the takers, and the taken from.

I can’t hold my resolve when it comes to you. Why can’t I say stop and walk away? The phone rings and up until that moment I had resolved to wash my hands of you: no more listening to your sweet nothings over the phone, no more going above and beyond for you, no more working so hard to get your attention because sometimes it felt like I had to remind you that I was there.

But when you did remember, it could have been just the two us in the universe. I guess it’s those moments that kept me blind for so long but truthfully I was a willing participant in the foolery of my being undervalued, underloved and underappreciated.

But no more being a fool. I’m working on me, recognizing that I’m a recovering undercover over lover recovering from love I can’t get over. No longer accepting less than what I’m worth and baby I do know what I’m worth.

Shark Island 1

The pain clawed it’s way up from my heel stabbing me in the groin. We had been squatting in the same spot for hours. Or it could have been minutes. Perhaps days. The cold, dehydration and hunger warped my sense of time but failed to numb the nerves. 

Death seemed a merciful end to the whole experience. But the jingle of the chains as each Herero was yanked forward was a harsh reminder of a different fate. The waves mockingly slapped the rocks below us coming and going as they pleased. 

Bzzzzzzzzzz. A fly rudely yanked  me back to reality. 

From the corner of my eye I saw a a booted foot. A German officer had made it down to our group. We were finally being moved into a cell. A weird sensation of warmth overcame my body as my chain was yanked towards the cluster of structures that would function as our cells. It wasn’t until my heart began to beat a little faster and I began to feel an uneasiness in my stomach, that I realized what I was experiencing was joy. Joy at slightly less inhumane conditions. 

After months in the desert where at its highest, the sun seemed to reign forever and the sharp cold of the Namibian desert night did not spare an inch of skin the iciness, this was a slice heaven. But life never lacks in irony for in the next months we would come to know Shark Island as hell on earth. 

Closing my eyes I thought back to twenty years ago when grandma sat us around the fire after supper and told us stories of ancient Kemitic warriors. I wondered if I asked kindly and desperately enough, if they would travel forward in time and fight our war liberating us from the white devils. 

Black polished boots, wrinkled where his feet folded as he walked. The laces had faded to a disgusting blackish grey. For days it was all I looked at when they came around. I couldn’t bring myself to look up at him as they herded us into the cell. To give him a face would be to admit that he was human too. That he had a nose that recognized the nasty smell of shit that hang over the air at the camp. That he had a heart that beat for his loved ones too. That he had eyes that saw the skin and bones that  populated the island including me. But for him to be human would mean that we were one and the same. Meaning either of two things; first, that I was capable of just as much evil or that he too was a prisoner in his world, unable to dictate his own actions. 

NO

In hindsight, a lot of heart ache, pain, disappointment and resentment would have been avoided if I had learned to say that one word.

I’ve realized I don’t use the word enough. I’m not advocating for constantly only looking out for yourself but simply not letting the needs of others overtake your own. A kind deed here and there is thoughtful but repeatedly pushing your own agenda further down the to-do list to cover another’s tasks is self-sabotage.

Does saying no make you selfish?

At what point does putting yourself first and above the needs of others become narcissistic?

If you say no, will people leave you?

Saying no sometimes means choosing yourself. It’s not always the easiest response to requests and it definitely does not make you popular. But twenty years down the road when you look back and realize that all you’ve done is accommodate the whims of others the regret may flood you overwhelmingly.

It’s okay to choose yourself. Today, tomorrow and forever. For as long as you live.

Days

There’s a magic to a night with the dark sky littered with stars and a steady slow rain coming down. Takes me back to bitter times, times that I fought through, times that I worked hard to bury in the field of time. 

But recently I came across a statement that made me reevaluate: “In order to love who you are you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” -Andrea Dykstra

Up until then I had been walking around upset with the world for all the storms it kept throwing my way. But I would have never become who I am now if it wasn’t for every moment I lived through. I was cheating myself by being resentful of trying times that characterized me. 

So as the rain falls I accept that shit happened, I figured it out and lived through it and therefore, I was kicking ass for more days to come. 

Love all the days: the good, the bad, the ugly, the rough, even the ones that end with tears from lost resolve, the ones that are littered with tears of laughter, the ones that are filled with joy and sadness simultaneously, the ones where you’re alone, the ones where you fall asleep in the arms of a loved one, the ones where you accomplish much, the ones where the walls seem to be crumbling all around, the ones where you have shit figured out and the ones where you feel like a headless chicken running around with no aim.

 It’s a short life, who knows what happens after but for now, it’s of no use taking up an attitude of hate towards it. 

Yearn

It’s a dangerous thing to be addicted a person, to yearn for the essence of his soul whenever he’s not around, to long for the electricity that moves through you with his arms around your waist and his breath heavy on your neck. The rush of endorphins and dopamine gives you a high you can’t get anywhere else. The further down his hand travels the heavier the buzz you begin to feel and if there was a bus leaving for heaven now you’d skip it because you’re pretty sure you’re already there.

Year of Yes

A few weeks ago, I met a South African musician at a friend of friend’s house. Going to that house was never in my plan for that day anyway therefore I believe that I was led there for a very specific purpose. There were a few other people there and were seated around a small dining table, having breakfast and casual conversation. Turns out they were all creatives of some kind, mostly musicians.

Then he turns to me and asks,

“So are you a creative too?”

With a sausage in hand, mid way to my mouth my hand paused and I blurted out,

“Oh gosh no.”

“Oh really?” with a questioning look.

At this point I remember that I do write, well more accurately, I used to write.

“Well actually, I write.” I hesitate. “I’m a writer. I used to write but I don’t do it as much.”

“You sound like you feel guilty about it.”

“Well yeah I kind of do, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I don’t know that well so I’m probably misplaced in telling you this. But that guilt. That guilt you feel from neglecting your art, it’s gonna eat away at you for the rest of your life.”

I don’t recall much of what he said thereafter. His words were like a slap to my face. I’d shelved this art that once fueled me and frankly I believe is the key to my purpose and expected that there would be no consequences.

Lately, I’ve been looking around and the people who seem the happiest are doing what they love and living off of it. And I’ve been absentmindedly been saying I wish that was me. But, I’ve been moving further and further away from my craft.

It takes 10,000 hours to perfect a skill. Sufficit to say, I’ve put in nowhere near to that amount. However, in the spirit of my year of yes I’m pursuing what feeds my soul once again. I’ve revived the blog and will work to making my writing better.

Get ready for lots of posts and do give me feedback, I really appreciate it. I encourage you to run after what feeds your soul. It may not pay the bills now but how can it ever work up to that if you never give it the chance?

Part of my campaign to live a better life is doing more of what feeds my soul.