Of Balconies and Sudden Drops

Dear Dee,

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this, first because it would alarm you and that’s not my intent, and second cause it’s weighty and vulnerable and leaves me feeling naked and exposed. We keep it real, and that’s just what am doing… Plus I think I’ve watched too much high school dramas that have got my emotions in a twist. A part of me is comfortable writing this cause I believe you’ll understand and I won’t have to gratify your curiosity on why I’m penning such a morbid piece and mailing it to you on the World Wide Web for everyone to see.

First, do not be alarmed, sometimes I let the dark thoughts out and they ain’t so pretty…but who’s to say that they shouldn’t warrant an audience because of their ugliness. Even Bigfoot drew attention, so I guess this is my larger than life moment of weakness.

I am far from perfect, and lately, I’ve accepted that it’s okay. However, no one told me that acceptance isn’t always a safeguard against those thoughts that weigh you down. That I’d have moments when that acceptance is not enough, and I’d find myself on a precipice and contemplate the drop…back into the former self that was not good enough, not eligible for certain things, plain unsuitable.

Sometimes I stand on the balcony and look out at people and wonder which version of me they have stored up in their memories. Was I at my best or did my first impression strike a nerve, bring on feelings of disconnect … from me. Did they meet the put-together me or the not-so-sorted version? Well, I’m not entirely put together, but I’m working towards it.

It’s been a while since I wrote to you… Now it seems I’m getting too personal and I wanna shy off from this tale. But I’m not one to quit so easy… Well, at least not my present persona so I’ll continue down this road. You are probably leaned forward, coffee forgotten and glasses adjusted right about now, wondering where my crazy mind has driven me to this time. Don’t worry, am still in one piece and plan to stay that way. Plus am very sober, this ain’t a drunk confession either.

Remember that balcony I like so much. Well, one of my low days I stood there and wondered what would happen if I fell. It was so random and creepy and somehow sane too. Yeah, I know, “she’s hit insanity” is your first thought. I’m not suicidal so don’t go Sigmund Freud on me trying to psychoanalyze me and make a diagnosis. It was those passing thoughts like am I a good mother, does my life qualify as exemplary, what happens when people die, or is there a God somewhere out there. It came, went and revisited again. This time I was doing the analysis of that thought wondering why I’d even contemplate such an event.

Jumping off balconies, that’s not me but I’ve gone off metaphorical cliffs, and maybe this is why that thought occurred to me. Science calls it mood swings, hormonal imbalance or changes, it blames it on things beyond your control. I’m not sure I can define it really, but at that moment I contemplated death, what happens in between and after one walks towards the metaphorical light. Would I be missed or just classified as a statistic put away in a dusty cabinet that is rechecked once in a while when Facebook bombards timelines with memories? It was a scary thought.

Consequently, this got me thinking… “what happens for a person to push through with leaping from that ledge?” We rarely talk about suicide in my community, maybe it is an African thing to keep the darkness under cover and avoid the taboo that is death at thy own hands. It must be a series of thoughts and actions because no one just wakes up and says i wanna die. 

Suicide is something that is evident in society but we fail to acknowledge it. Similar behavior to the child that avoids looking under the bed so that the boogieman won’t get her. However, in this case, the boogieman is real and is not confined to a single station, he moves around and the next victim could be someone close to you. I am no expert but I believe the facing the situation head-on, and being alert on signs of depression and other factors that contribute to the issue may be of help.

PS: I am loving my current stage in life, but this does not mean I am not empathetic to those around me who are not so happy. Share some love, offer a smile, be kind…it could save a life.

 

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Dear 20-year old Self

Adulthood is a complicated dance…you’re never sure if it’s the Tango, and once you catch on that it’s salsa, the music changes and the world is on to the samba leaving you behind with your awkward two left feet. I’m still on the dance floor however…. Battling out the awkwardness, trying to find my rhythm and praying to God I find that partner that lets me dance on their feet. It’s a simple enough life, we live on hope and look back wondering how time went by without us noticing how fast the ‘driver’ was going. I am an adult, but honestly sometimes the kid in me takes the wheel and such journeys are always unpredictable.

I’m still awake at this time, not because I’m burning the midnight oil discovering the next big idea in physics, it’s less simple and more complicated. Childhood memories remind me of how much I desired sleep and if memory serves me right the adults of that time promised after school I’d have the keys to “lala-land”. Well, tough luck getting inside. Now the sleep is less because the hustle is more, and the thought processing is on another level. I can’t sleep because I’m thinking. Making plans, noting down budgets, scheduling nap time and trying to survive the jungle of being over 21.

I thought I’d have it all figured out. Be someone who is achieved by 24 and my life would be paradise with me at the centre of Eden because I did good. I read, passed exams, did not break the rules, and I followed the system. Well, am not sure if the this reward program is working cause am still unsure of what am doing sometimes. Some mornings I wake up and feel like I can reach the peak of Mount Everest, while other mornings I wish it were night so I’d crawl back to bed and avoid smelling the success off other people’s shoulders. It’s the mood swings or probably the fact that the grass seems greener on the other side.

However, there’s a lesson we learn the hard way. It’s not really green, the neighbours just have good lighting and your perspective of yourself is often not as accurate as you’d think. So you didn’t graduate by 21 and get married at 25, it’s not really a race because your journey is different than mine. Probably you’d have sought jobs for longer and given up earlier if the graduation was at your scheduled time. Maybe that marriage would never have lasted because you still had an explorer’s spirit and had yet to learn submission. It does not really matter because you are still on the move, just not where you thought you’d be.

So dear 20-year old self….

Live…. That’s the summation of what advice i would give you.

Read a lot…. you have a mind that wanders so best to get lost in the different eras available in literature

Love…. It does not hurt that much if you do it with no expectations. Love is the act of being the best of you and sharing some of that magic

Write… This is a past time that never grows old, self therapy and the beginning of many journeys.

No More Dancing

I saw you today, it was one of those perfect sunsets and you happened to have the dash of colors as a backdrop.  You are beautiful, I know English dictates I say handsome but for me its beauty that I see. It was one of those moments when you hardly noticed I was looking and I took it upon myself to explore what it was that caught my attention. Was it the high cheekbones or the shy dimple that was always peeking at me when you smiled? Probably that mischievous laughter of yours for it was the mystery of the man that I followed like bees to the honeypot.

I saw you today, underneath that mango tree sipping orange juice and trying not to tap your feet to the music. You exude happiness and it is infectious, more like ink on blotting paper it runs fast and creeps deep. When I think of being happy, you never miss in those fantasies of perfect gateways and sand between my toes as the birds sing to the hum of the water crashing on the beach. If you were to be Prince Charming, I’d be sleeping beauty for I have been oblivious to you in my deep slumber of “friendship” and it is you who had awoken my curiosity with a single act.

The sun finally set, and the excellence of color gone, I saw him. It was not you who was standing under the mango tree, but him. The darkness draped him like a cloak and he looked magnificent in that light. A persona fit for his role as my tormentor and you were gone with the light. It was time for our dance, he and I, but I was never ready even when I knew the steps by heart. As he rises I shall reduce my form for it is the way of the dance.  A raise of his fist means a turn of the cheek and bend of my knees. Repeat.

Source: Business Day

I saw him today; he came in your place like the dark cloud takes up space in the blue sky. He smiled but even that dimple didn’t make a show and I knew you were truly gone, having left me to the passions of the night, the whims of another. I looked pretty in the white dress I wore today, at least that’s what you said. However, he decided it needed some color; add a little character to it. And so a splash of scarlet, some drops of tears and maybe minor shredding too. There, a work of art!

I saw me today, the person I have become reflected in my three-year Old’s eyes and I decided I’m done dancing or making art. The girl I saw is not the one you took down the aisle, she left probably to go find you and I was left with him in an unending dance of unequal. However, the music has stopped, and I am leaving the dance floor, leaving the artist and the dancer to find the girl that went to find you. I am choosing my child and myself over the life I dreamed for there is no need for dreams if all the time they turn into nightmares.

PS. I saw us today and were no longer what we used to be.

A Medusa of Thoughts 

Dear Jay

It has been a rollercoaster of a week, I’m not sure it has ended yet, I just hope it has coz I’m about done with the nausea from the runarounds. I am back to my original question without answers. I’m I a bad person? Is it my persona or just basically my acting that is terrible because the spin of the earth is going wrong for me. I am at the losing end of this chess game. I want what is not and have no desire for what is…man’s century old dilemma. It’s one of those weeks when my mind checks out and my heart becomes the proverbial mouse ruling in the cat’s absence.

Some thoughts are in a loop, others are broken records. I am an mp3 player on repeat and even a blackout can’t seem to turn off the music that is my chaos. I am probably beating myself up for nothing but that’s one of the things am really good at…the worst critic of myself. Some days I know where I am headed, my mind is clear, my heart is mum and my actions show purpose…yet other times I fell like a hula-hoop….spinning up and down the waist of fate as she dances to destiny’s tune.

I left for a brief moment, to witness the beauty in calamity but I have lost my way back, stranded in the warzone. Now it seems I have forgotten the secret letters of our alphabet and the codes to my heart’s nukes are in enemy hands…ready for detonation as one after another piece gets chipped away. There is stillness in the eye of the storm….but what if you are the manifestation of that storm? Does that mean you find your center?

I am a bubbly creature, full of love and life….but just as the moths draw to the light and create shadows, I attract negativity. I love to write … As I write am actually grading myself, trying to see if maybe the literature will reveal my faults. However all I see is how crafty I can be at whipping up half-truths and serving paradise to non-believers. My prowess seems to have improved because even I can’t tell the difference Sometimes. I write and write but never make sense of what is on paper so I read it to myself but the sound and the words seem foreign and I am lost to it all. My sanity is like a ball of glass, fragile and beautiful but once the glass breaks you never know what comes forth. And now I am rambling, probably cause of sleep deprivation or coz I’m hung up on movies. Read this with a touch of salt cause am high on sugar too….

PS: This beautiful mess misses your attempts to clean it up, write back soon.

Let God 

Dear Dee, 

I’m the occasional patient and you are my shrink. Sometimes I come to my sessions other times I believe I am cured of my phobia and can indulge in life like normal people. This has been one of those times,  when I’ve been on a sugar high…. So full of life and thus I’ve avoided the comfort of your silence and embraced the hubbub of excitement in my head.  You see Dee,  I have been happy and that makes one forget sometimes that such joy comes at a price.

Life is a long winding road, sometimes our path is clear as day,  other times the hills overshadow what’s ahead and we have to either give up the journey or trust there is more road up ahead and there’s more to explore. 

If anyone asked me this morning if I had the elyxur for life I’d say yes. It’s been a tough year,  2017, but I’ve been to euphoria in all this mess that politics brought. Probably it’s the aspect of doom that made me embrace the joy within,  understand that life is short. Or could be it’s my daughter’s progress into a little tornado of happiness and wonder.  Wouldn’t really know what’s made me this euphoric. 

However Dee,  not to say the euphoria is wearing off,  the opposite infact… Only that this time I may just pinpoint what is making me this happy…. It’s a risk, it’s not a sure bet,  it’s me giving up the reins and letting destiny decide…. Which is hard really,  giving up control is not something I’d do, it keeps me sane. But then again,  to keep this happiness up I need to do just that. 

“Let go,  and let God”

It’s time I stopped thinking I could control what happens in my life and that’s why I’m back, typing furiously and waiting for a response.  Is it crazy to take the risk, climb that tree and find sour grapes at the top?  You’d probably say the adventure was part of the worth but all I’d be thinking is it’s sour grapes,  all my efforts for sour grapes!!!! 

Recently an acquaintance said I wasn’t living my life,  well atleast not fully. Apparently motherhood has become my scapegoat for truly acting my age and living like it. I’m not sure whether their assessment was accurate, but we never see the log in our eyes. My little ladybug is everything to me,  but I do “live” and enjoy my twenties. I mingle,  write,  read…less poetry lately but that doesn’t mean the artist has thrown in the towel. I’m still me but change is inevitable once motherhood hits.  It’s no longer a party for one, there’s always a plus one. 

One thing our sessions have done for me is build back my trust in people. It’s true writing heals wounds less visible to others. There was a time all I expected from others was the negative,  suspicious characters they were… But not everyone has a hidden agenda,  a double meaning to their words.  

My new year has a set of resolutions in place,  some I’ll probably leave along the way,  others I’ll struggle to maintain and some I’ve never even started…..but one thing is for sure Dee,  I shall be 

“Living in the present, enjoying the moment and leaving the future to He that knows all”

After all,  so far I’ve made it this far and He’s been ever faithful,  never left my side and doesn’t ask the impossible of me 😊

Happy new year Dee,  it’s some weeks late but still not late enough for warm wishes 

Fantasia 

Dear Dee,  

I still dance with my illusions, 

It’s Better there,  where I perform a mean waltz and my tango is impeccable. Cause we both know in reality I’ve got two left feet and I can’t dance to save my life. 

I still lip-sing to Mariah, 

Belt out a voice that can convert the deaf, at the opera I’m not shy for the stage is my reality but when I come home to my fantasy it never lives up to Carey.

I still fabricate Picasso, 

Maneuver my keyboard and produce excellent replicas.  I’m no artist, at least my hand has yet to meet paper in a mingle with paint. But I so desire to create that one masterpiece, my Monalisa. 

I still google Eisten 

For I’m yet to comprehend his genius so I’ll settle for quoting him.  And how come an onslaught by an apple caused Newton to think of gravity? I shy away from nerdism yet wish to be that geek with the scoop of the week.

I still don’t know who’s me 

Is there someone out there trying to be what they believe I am?  Probably I’d learn a thing or two from them. Evidently,  the one person I’m yet to master is actually ‘Me’… 

Spanish Guitar 

Dear Fallen Angel 

You were so high up on that pedestal that I often believed you rarely looked down on us mere mortals. See, I couldn’t comprehend how you got to such a position so I envied you from a distance.  Purity was your name,  though I much preferred it to be Grace for you have always been a swan on a lake.  The walls of my heart have eyes,  for they saw the unmarred nature of your soul,  the innocence of young beauty.  Yet the heart is a dark abyss full of mystery for in my longing for the unattainable I dreamt of pulling you from your pedestal and reminding you of just how human you are, how vulnerable souls can be,  how hateful the world has become.  In my desire to grasp the essence of your joy,  that ring in your laughter… I plotted ways to climb up your good graces and sneak up on your vulnerabilities. 

You became my obsession, a sickening ritual of blood, sweat,  and tears… None of which was necessarily mine. I scaled the tall tower, up Rapunzel’s brick prison for I was determined to see what’s inside. Be the first to stake claim on Virgin land. Purity underwent scrutiny as each nouk I turned in search of what to devour. I became a prince overnight for that is what my angel desired,  opening doors,  saying thank-you and always doting the Js and crossing her Ts. I endured her being a tease,  all in aim to please. It fit my role perfectly for she opened up like a flower in readiness to embrace morning dew…..Was the solution to her thirst.

Then it all became such a bore,  for I was done with my chore. Discovering the angel not a saint, but a sinner missing opportunity to taint. My angel, you went down in spiral fashion, taking in all the memories that presumably make you dizzy with shame. Finally realizing it was all a game. 

Hate me not,  for I did love thee

Or the illusion I had of you. 

You were the light that kissed the horizon in the morning. An allure, I couldn’t resist…call me psychotic but you were my muse….. And now I live in misery for shattering my world, toppling your pedestal and awakening to reality of missing perfection. 

I like him not…or so I should 

Dear Dee, 

I’m in a dilemma,  a conundrum of my making. See,  I like this guy,  but I think I shouldn’t for he is a guy after all.  We place them in the same box and few are bold enough to venture out of it.  He’s a gentleman of the 21st century,  the kind that remembers bits of chivalry but balances out my desire for independence. He pays the bills but consents to my prompt to split it 50/50. I doubt he’d ever hold my purse but my hand he rarely let’s go off. A Prince Charming that works all fairy tale magic on the damsel 

 ‘I’m giddy’ with all this attention 

But after a peck goodnight and closing of doors I awaken to reality. I calculate the days steps, analyze his maneuvers and conclude on his intent. Young master Jay is a predator and am his prey.  

Before you declare my lunacy and opt to subject me to therapy of reason, hear me out.  I have one or two things to point out in support of my conclusion. A patient after all knows their symptoms to a degree.

I must have a mild concussion cause I forget myself sometimes when am in his company. All the reasons why get thrown out the window. I forgot he’s male and full of hormones, or that am female and truly vulnerable. My head throbs with thoughts of today and fantasies on our tomorrow. My vision is blurry…

I believe I’m catching a cold,  a flu cause I’m dashing out ‘excuse me’ to friends in apology to canceled appointments. His however never get rescheduled. Plus I get teary-eyed after a gesture of concern on his part…

In addition to all the above,  I believe I’m developing heart failure. I cannot breathe in some circumstances… In his presence my pressure skyrockets and I think my pulse seeks audience with how loud I hear it.  I’m a bundle of nerves from his touch…my legs fail me once or twice…. 

So you see Dee, I’m ailing and my disease has a name and face.  I like him but I shouldn’t… 

Me,  Myself and Her

Dear Me,

You are not perfect, and that’s a good thing. Life is full of imperfections and it’s no fault of yours that you are part of that quota. All things in check is totaly overrated and chaos has a beauty of its own. Part of being 22 is not having everything sorted out; feeling out of place then totally in control. The Topsy-Turvy that is reality.

You’re everybody’s ‘swty’ but be careful not to let that get to your head. It’s just a name, until it isn’t. Titles are meaningless unless you are the one dishing them out. Shakespeare was right in making Juliet question;

What’s in a name?

You are okay…even as the storms overwhelm you and that light seems to dim. There’s room for a change,  a new outlook  to all the crazy. Silver linings may be scare but there still there and you live to fight another day. Everyone endures a phase of disappointment, a lag of failure and a mountain of doubt…overcoming them is the task. 

My dear me, 

There is no one to substitute your role,  you can’t have an off day from being you.  The journey you’re on will never smooth out and some landmarks you encounter shall turn to memory: never being revisited again. There bound to be moments you would want to give up, throw-in the towel and just check out of life…. Well, you can’t. It’s not up to you when the rollercoaster stops.  

Life is a tango,  fantasy and reality begging for that dance. Music with different beats,  and as the tempo fluctuates so does life.  I urge you to keep dancing,  when it’s swift and when the DJ turns it down: keep those feet moving. Enjoy the salsa of life and be adaptable to the waltz of destiny. 

My dear me, 

Remember mini me…shes young and vulnerable. Yet to be spoiled by life’s dark moments. Be the best version of yourself around her,  show her that life can be beautiful and chaotic, enjoyable and lived to the fullest. In short,  be happy so she’s happy too. 

Caught Up

Dear Bree,
I can just imagine you scowling, “Don’t dear Bree me,” you’d muttter and I’d pretend not to hear. It’s been, what , three months? I have been well, thought about lying but shall not; you’d see right through it. 

Its in the phrasing, nothing genuine comes in that many words.

As am sure my story will be long, filled with deathly scenarios, playing the pity card: I shall store it away. However, I am hoping honesty wins out and we hug and make up. So, let’s start over, 
Dear Bree,

The weather is great on this side of Africa. It’s raining cats and dogs one minute and the next second; the woman scorned (sun) bakes us in her fury. I carry my umbrella everywhere because it’s evident mother-nature is having one of those days.
I miss you, and its not just today, though I’ve only reached out now. What’s new in your life? Are you into anything new and exciting or has the silence of four walls tamed you. 

We seem to be drifting towards different poles. That’s what happens when we grow up, or is it? School’s over; no more sneaky trips, plans of mischief and nights of sharing. Did you forget me? Or at least store me away for a later date.

I’m caught up, talk to you soon,”

There’s always something that precedes what’s of value.Could be work,relationships, running after a career or family obligations. Wouldn’t know unless someone told me…we are all upto something or the other. Sometimes we even forget ourselves.

It’s hard to know when I got so lost in the everyday hustle. Things I used to diligently follow have fallen off my calendar but I hardly notice. It’s a case of misplaced priorities or lack of any. Wonder if it is also the same story in your case. 

Hopefully this is a phase too, a stage of realignment, and soon we shall be back to painting toe nails and sharing recipes as we catch up on some gossip and just reconnect