Swirling

I thought I had it all,

Health, Time, Love and Wisdom.

I thought I had it all, I really did and for a while, my heart soared.

For, how could what was in my palm, slip through my fingers as I watched.

Woman With Purple Face Paint
Caleb + Karci Carson/ Pexels.com

How could I be this weak?

How could I be at the mercy of another being…saying ‘help’ and having them hurdle around in groups whispering my losses into ears of the very same hands that could lift me up?

How could I be the one who forgot the time?

How could I be the one who cried when the world was asleep and smiled when it was awake?

How could I be this stranger staring back at me?

I thought of my life, my dreams, my work, my words…and for a moment, my mind swirling with these questions, came a precise voice…a calm voice, something like a soft breeze at the back of my head…and from it came the words,

“you are still here and if that doesn’t count for something, then I don’t know what does, Get up, Get up, Get up, Get up…”

Before you write yourself off

I am seated on this leather seat, cosy, warm and my stomach is so full of yogurt that I feel the urge to sleep. It’s been a long and busy day. The kind of day where I met seventy new people, had to create some group dynamics and set aside some work related rules and regulations.

It’s also the day I realized that I would not make a trip I had planned for the end of this month.

It’s nothing much, you’d say, but have you ever written yourself off simply based on the kind of life other people presented to you?

Saying “I can never be that beautiful,” or “I can’t have such flat abs,” “I can’t have that job or make that kind of money.”

As we were getting teams ready and all, someone stood up and after saying his name, this young cheerful man added “I am doing nothing, so, unlike most of you here who are busy doing things, I am doing nothing.”

The whole room laughed. They laughed until he sat down but during lunch break, I sat next to him and asked him “what do you focus on when you are not say, working for someone or looking to work for someone?” He shrugged and said “I actually sketch stuff, you know using pencil or coal and it’s nothing much but I love it.”

I asked him if I could see his sketches and he pulled out his phone and showed me a gallery of beautiful works that he had done and some that he had sold to his friends on campus and other parish members at his church.

I am no Picasso.

I am no Sketch Artist but I loved what I saw and more so, I respected the hours and clarity he put in his work. But, his utterance in the morning session reminded me of all the times I wrote myself off.

It’s easy to compare yourself to people based on what they project or the image they show you and it’s even easier to go the extra mile to try and be like them.

It’s easy because copying has never been difficult, it’s being an original and staying true to yourself that takes grit and a lifetime.

So, before you write yourself off, please give yourself some time. Take a step back. Talk to yourself (yes, do it😉). Give yourself the award or medal for being uniquely you and live your life.

Whenever I feel like a failure, my Mom’s words always come back to me “life is being on a race track, you are guaranteed two things, a start and a finish, it’s what you do in between that matters, and no race was ever won by running in someone’s lane or by constantly looking over your shoulder to see if your opponent is catching up.”

Hawajui

They know not.

I hear the whispers, see the questions in their eyes, meet their concern in their lips, feel their pity in their footsteps. Have you ever been at something for an eternity with people constantly wondering when it’ll come to be?

Like that business you always talked about starting.

Or the trip to Mombasa that was meant to happen, then you got fired, lost someone, had to move to another apartment, got another job miles away from where you stay, started sending money home…the baby started walking…daycare lessons…

Let’s talk about every time you see her talking about the release of a new book and you go, “You know I have always wanted to write a book?”

Let’s talk about running into the noisemaker of your high school days, driving that Toyota Harrier, talking to you while twirling car keys as though you are blind to the fact that he drives and you still have to sit on a sambaza and negotiate with the tout on fare before boarding a matatu.

Better yet, that girl you always thought would be a Professor, and now she’s selling Insurance- constantly posting about Insurance plans and you just want to shake her and ask, “what happened to your dreams?”

Then it hits you that Potential is unreliable. If you bank on he’s got potential to be or she’s got the potential to be…you are no different than the one who is playing lotto, putting in some money and praying every day that they get a million, it could go great or extremely worse…that’s potential!

Press on…for it is easy to dismiss a blank page, but even Writers know that the greatest asset is a blank page, because it is screaming “fill me up, bring me to life, bleed on me!”

book notebook diary table work office bookmark pages sheet cover white
Thank you Stocksnap.io

When you see people who are living the life you wish you could trade with your current situation, you see pages that have been written on. You see the paragraphs and chapters they choose to flaunt. You see their version of events, but even you should know something incredible…you see your work as unfinished, so go ahead and finish it. Carve your own path. Carving involves work and sweat and determination…carve away until you have a product that you’ll be proud of.

And one more thing…saying it is not all there is, saying and working towards it is a start. This is for when it seems as though you are working hard but not seeing the results, this is just to remind you that somewhere, at some time, there’s a girl with chubby cheeks who has been staring at blank pages since she was 12, and she knows that it can be done.

PS: Hawajui is a Kiswahili phrase which translated into English becomes “They know not.”

Start now

people girl woman outdoor trees plant sunlight sunrise pray worship
stocksnap.io

Start now.

Start where you are.

Start with fear.

Start with pain.

Start with doubt.

Start with hands shaking.

Start with voice trembling

but start.

Start and don’t stop.

Start where you are,

with what you have.

Just…start.

IJEOMA UMEBINYUO.