Thursday, 11 May 2017

When the script is familiar

I listened to an interview on Oprah’s network about 2 years ago and the person being interviewed talked about how we can sometimes hold on to falsehood so long that it becomes our reality; a reality that's blurred and no matter how long we seem to thrive in this space, we are eventually left disillusioned or frustrated.
I have found this to be true; because the mind is so powerful that once it creates and focuses on an image, it is only a matter of time before it becomes real (at least to the bearer of the thoughts). Most of us have gone through the same particular experience more times than shame will allow us admit; the catalyst may come in different packages but it's usually the same story. To be fair, we may be clueless about the pattern at first and blame it on bad luck or bad environment or lack of guidance but as we mature or go through it repeatedly, there are things we begin to recognize or just know without trying too hard to decipher.
The unfortunate thing is we often misunderstand so we take what should have been lessons that would keep us strong for our journey and turn them to tents to permanently reside; trying to force what is not and cannot be our eternal reality. It’s not rocket science to know that this can break any individual, especially messing with your self-esteem and state of mind.
Whenever we reach this level of knowledge, we intuitively recognize the things and people who trigger these experiences and that the effects are bad for us but we convince ourselves to stick to what is familiar; to give in to the lies of accepting that we can’t do better; we feel like we will lose some benefits; or we are just too afraid, too lazy or weak to take a stand and fight against what we have grown to know is not right. Sadly, abuse is inevitable when we do not realize our self-worth; it's just human nature, it serves others when you are available for them to treat in ways that benefit them.
Yet I have learnt that we are all able to break free from what doesn't serve us right and whatever makes us feel less than we are. Because even though I may genuinely not have control over some of life’s happenings and painful emotions are real, I refuse to continually be a victim of someone else’s selfishness, insecurity or inability to respect me enough to do the right thing at all times. It is up to me to not be quiet, to say NO and not accommodate it.
But I have been my own ‘enemy’ because the ability to remain consistently strong and sure of myself has to come from me being void of any form of self-deceit or blurred reality. To be able to tell myself hard truths, accept my shortcomings, warped mind set and to be determined to fix me as often as is required; to love myself with no condemnation or conditions; to not be afraid of being alone; to accept that I am enough and can only get better; to be okay with the truth that not everyone will be open to me and to believe that I have amazingness to offer those who will and to make friends with the word ‘NO’ when what I should not give is required of me. So whenever internal or external beings present a familiar ‘negative’ script, I will smell the ‘horse manure’ and not question my ability to function excellently without it!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Keep it simple

I thought ‘deep’ or ‘complicated’ was better so I often desired to be perceived that way. I have been described as ‘intelligent’, ‘wise’ or having ‘more to me than what I revealed’ yet that wasn’t sufficient; hence there was constant turmoil between who I thought I should be and who I truly am.
I like simple; simple is stress-free, at least eventually because life may not always be easy but we can function in simplicity. I like straightforward honest expression of thoughts; easy conversation; no games or guessing in friendships or romantic relationships; simple personal style; simple work so even though I can be a workaholic once I find something I enjoy, I do not need anyone to stress or micro manage me into delivering my responsibilities.  I even like simple ‘beauty’ and makeup application which turned out to be a bit of a problem considering I am a makeup artist in Nigeria where the industry and most of its stakeholders do not accept simple.
So for years I craved more because I felt simple wasn’t enough; it affected my writing style, my conversations, my business dealings or pursuit,  the knowledge I searched for and the relationships I tried to establish and keep which ended because I felt they were false or forced.
Thankfully, through a long process of self-discovery and acceptance which is still on going, I decided that I would stick with ‘simple’ because that is me. I stopped to think that where did my pursuit of complicated get me? Seriously where were my rewards for being so ‘deep’? I could be my person and there will still be room- and acceptance- for what I have to offer in and through every aspect of my life.
And I also learnt that people actually do like simple too; they think they like deep and unearthly or grandiose but they like simple just like I do. Or maybe they feel their accomplishments and results can only be validated by complex efforts. I mean the occasional drama and mountain shaking moments do not hurt because they may be fun or scary or can’t be controlled but that’s what makes life, life! So they like simple but they think it is not enough.
I have followed a particular French blogger for years and after a while I stopped keeping tabs; I got distracted or I got bored with her but recently I stumbled upon her twitter handle and decided to go to her blog and after a few reads I knew she too had gone through a process of growth. So I renewed my vow to her; she had gone through her process of wanting more or perhaps thinking she was enough and then completely losing herself. But she was back and better and reading a few of her posts that gave me this insight, kind of gave me clarity to be able to explain my own experience too.
I have come to accept that it is a never ending journey; I am learning to be bold again (I say again because I once was) because that’s part of simplicity; like ask questions if I don’t know; say no when I have to; say yes when I want it; learn from others; to be consistent and focus on the main goal rather than on complex methods that leave me frustrated.

This is not permission to be lazy; being weak-willed and lazy would not help us to learn, to grow, to cut off what doesn’t serve us and to be courageous enough to stand for our ‘simple’ whether it is popular or not. For ‘simple’ is beautiful and peace of mind is crucial.

Friday, 10 March 2017

I Fight for My Mind

One statement I make often in the place of prayer is “God, Thank You that I have not lost my mind!” because I know that is quite easy to do. Everything we go through is a form of contention for the peace that is so pertinent for progress to take place. The mind is a blessing and a curse; I have died a thousand deaths in my lifetime because I genuinely felt like that would be a solution to its tumult. In recent times, I have learnt not to desire this ‘death’ for I see now the calm I seek is not in death but in ‘control’. I also think that is the difference; the thin line between mental wellness and illness. This has made me more sensitive to those suffering mental illnesses (which note are not only those roaming the streets naked).
I think it is the minds natural disposition to be unsettled; it also does not help that there are forces that are by default designed to oppose the harmonious working of our mental faculties and space. Google says our mind includes “our consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory”. And it “holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.”
I have experienced countless times, my memory working against my better judgement therefore I lose a good thing because I convinced myself that a past hurtful event will repeat itself in my present or future. I have experienced someone else’s perverted perception of affection and now I have to live through almost a lifetime of self-loath, blame, shame and regret which has made my appreciation or acceptance of love queer. And do not even get me started on my imagination; often diverse, colourful and limitless but I have been told I am unrealistic and weird which initiates lasting negative emotion so there is so much ‘FULL’ in me but I cannot express so what am I to do with all that? And then the attainment of what we conceive success to be; where did that come from? And why does anxiety or fear take no permission before they sit there and ruin my life’s every action?
My life has not gone as planned and I do not know what to do so I pretend that I am fine. I mean how does one confess to being clueless about everything? Religion teaches us to be content but even God knows and promises that there is more so why the disparity? I was told I have to struggle but for what? The work and causes I have taken up in the past, left me more disappointed and faithless; discouraged to involve myself in another but I am tired of being stagnant. And it is hard to admit that I get jealous when I see other people work at something and seem to impart and succeed so where did I get it wrong?
I am afraid to be completely unashamedly honest; I am at the risk of being mocked or taken for granted or labelled. People often misunderstand my genuineness and intentions no matter the mode of dissemination or how I arrange my words. I see honesty is now the well painted picture a person replays often enough until it becomes their reality yet that is not me.
If I cry, they will call me weak. If I want to be alone, they will say I am a snob or socially awkward or I have changed and if I just decide to stay in my mind, I fear the demons I have to fight there so where really is there peace? Sometimes I wonder what the peace that comes with dying feels like but I am not courageous enough to take my own life. And I also believe murder is a sin that guarantees an eternity in hell.
I am yet to fully attain the ‘control’ I mentioned but I know I am on that journey; I get the feeling it will be long and my only recommendation for those who seek same is to get in there and FIGHT!; Fight because your life does depend on it; don’t let ‘them’ win. Fighting can include facing the demons, the memories and the thoughts; praying your heart out to God daily; speaking to a professional who can help; crying and venting then getting over it. But I know that the flip side of the mind which I called a blessing is its amazing ability to heal itself; to open itself up to the light that can dispel the darkness of the curse. Only the mind can heal the mind! Those who have mastered the control are those who are tuned in more to the Light than the darkness; who recognise when the darkness comes knocking and no matter the threats, can subdue it by simply staying in the light.
And so I pray that EVERY moment of your life, no matter what you are experiencing, you remember that you already have the power; you can and you will reach for and dwell in the Light, for that is where peace resides, not perfection but peace! And that is enough for now

Thursday, 16 February 2017

I will know what to do

I like to scribble, especially when I feel overwhelmed and this eventually leads me to writing and pouring out what’s on my mind on paper. Most times it may not be coherent to anyone who reads it because I just let it out and ‘edit’ later but it makes me feel like my concerns are easier to handle.
I think I have consistently done this more in the past few months than any other time in my life; a few weeks ago, I decided to re-evaluate what I really wanted, to make me feel more confident about myself and my goals. I needed clarity yet I was more confused than before so I decided to think of things I didn’t want to permit or express in my life anymore.
-         I will no longer feel sorry for myself; I am my worst critic and I often forget how far I have come.
-         I will not dwell in that place of questioning my ability to make my life better.
-         I will not accept defeat; I used to give up too easily and that has got me nothing I like.
-         I will not allow myself mourn an irreversible loss beyond the necessary period of time.
-         I will not be shy to talk to someone that I admire or desire to learn from.
-         I will stop being jealous (though this was hard to admit) rather I would emulate their steps to success or work out mine.
-         I will stop procrastinating; I learnt this happens from a place of fear of failure and not laziness.
-         I will stop giving certain people my time; A LOT of people do not deserve it and this is not being proud, this is me being aware of my worth and how precious time is.
-         I will no longer stay in hiding; all I require will not come and meet me in my room.
-         I will not keep quiet; this is tricky but I realised in recent time that The Spirit has been helping me talk at the right time and say the right things. People do take your silence for consent or weakness; the idea is to have a balance.
-         I will say NO and will not feel guilty.
-         I will not allow people make me feel bad about things that make me who I am; did you ever have that friend in secondary school or a partner who just has a negative opinion about everything you do? So they judge your hairstyle; your clothes; your eating pattern; the way you walk; the way you breathe??? Making you feel like nothing is right about you? No matter how confident you are, when someone has negative things to say to you all the time it would eventually get to you but learn to FREE THAT TYPE! Let them know their opinion doesn’t matter, and these people are usually the ones who actually need to be fixed.
It seemed I had begun practising some things on the list even before I realized what I was doing, so I decided to be more intentional and hopeful that this will lead me to know the things I do want and go for them with courage.  I know with time, this list may change but that’s okay, which will mean I have learnt my lessons and grown to another level that demands more from me.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

How will I work out my dietary salvation?

I like food; I like to admire food and relish the amazingness of flavours and colours and tastes. I love beans and plantain, burgers, fries or some sea food soaked in a Mediterranean sauce but I also swing to the other side and would gladly consume supposedly boring healthy options like carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower rice and calorie-free granola muffins.
I like food .......but I AM TIRED!!!
I’m so exhausted I could cry!
I’m beginning to feel like I’m going to some food hell and quite frankly I sometimes think it won’t be such a bad idea. Haba! it is really unfair because I do not even eat (maybe when I am in a party sha and it’s been a while I indulged and my mama didn’t raise me to waste food); most of the time I am afraid to eat or I am too mentally lazy to even decide what to eat but as there is no justice in the world, all I need to do is just dream or look at food and I get fat! Fear won’t let me be great because the way my waist and arms are set up, all the food goes there rather than go into my stomach to be completely digested or below my back *wink*
If it was that I led a completely unhealthy lifestyle now I could take the blame but this has been a lifelong battle. So I can start my day with 2 slices of wheat bread and coffee or fibre cereal sweetened with cinnamon; snack on almonds or an apple; drink 3 litres of lemon flavoured water; have cous cous and fish/chicken for lunch (which often becomes an early dinner) and then BOOM! Someone would just come with puff puff or chocolate biscuits or chips or caramel popcorn or suya!!!!!! Which manner of demon is this?? And nobody should mention lack of self-control to me, thank you!
I looked through old pictures recently and I just started thinking of my life and if this will be an eternal cross to bear; because even if I do the work and lose weight, how would I keep it off? Yes, yes I know “gradual process”, “make it a lifestyle”, “blah blah keep story for tortoise” I KNOW! But developing that lifestyle seems like something in a distant future and I am faithless enough to believe I will fall back into being unfit and unhealthy as I have done several times in the past so is there really redemption?
Today I have no kind words of encouragement; this is me on a rant. I know someone might want to preach to me about loving yourself, Oh darling I do, however today ‘they’ are really trying me and for the moment I have given in.
So you can give me kind advice or laugh gently (at) with me in the comment section, it may make me feel better!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Is it really you, demon or your ego?

I had a bad day today, one of those ones you just lie down most of the day and paint the worst possible scenarios of your life; it took prayer, motivational and happy YouTube videos and lunatic looking self talk to snap out of it! I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone because I didn’t want to pretend I was happy and it didn’t help too that all my devices had low battery most of the day. But I decided there was no need, I STILL won’t achieve anything if I stayed low and down.
After sometime, I became proud of myself because there was a time I would have nursed this moodiness and blamed the world and would have held on to the bad attitude as if it were a trophy or something to be proud of. I have been at the receiving end of people’s moody behaviour and it is not a good place to be in, especially if it is a loved one, you would want to tell them to go to hell but you love them and because you care about whatever relationship you have with the person, you hold your tongue and help them come out of it or you step back and pray they come out soon enough.
One thing I have also experienced is people who get angry when I am in a mood; if you cannot be considerate and do what I stated above then by all means GET OUT!! Even though I would admit some people get moody for no apparent reason, don’t make it worse. This is not about you, I cannot be thinking of ways to heal and also cater to your own ego so please!! Do not be selfish and insensitive, people are going through things they may never be able to fully express. And one thing I have learnt is that, on my own bad day if I decide to relegate my own emotions and help another person, I end up feeling better.
Moodiness is of the devil! I am not even joking, I think it is very ugly especially when you are known for it and I undoubtedly believe it is a display of pride; like why are you nursing a bad attitude often, making people around you uncomfortable and acting like being in a dark place is cool and acceptable or would gain you respect? If something is wrong, talk let us help you. When I do not really know what is causing my mood, I would rather go into hiding like I did today so that I won’t use my own to affect others but some people come to full view or even call you to talk and then say nothing as if I am omniscient!
If you are suffering from depression (uncontrollable bouts of moodiness is a common symptom) which is something I have been delivered from then I sympathize with you and because sometimes you have no control over these things but I know you can be delivered if you want to.
I now believe there is nothing that serious in this life; I mean if you have access to any device and can read this online then you are considered elite in the world with basic necessities available to you. So please believe every form of darkness will give way to Light; you will outlive the shame of that mistake and forgive yourself; you will genuinely smile again; you will heal or develop the strength to deal with and grow through that pain; and you will not be lonely forever but it is up to you to you allow the right people who truly love you into your life and space.