Of tough times and healing..

Dear younger me, I write this letter to warn you of tough times ahead. Of things no one tells you at your age. Not to scare you but to prepare you. For I know how much you hate spontaneity(unless its an adventure; duh!)

They tell you that being out of your parent’s care and support is the hardest thing you’ll experience after high school. That being provided for is heaven compared to providing for yourself. Well that’s true. 

But there is something harder than growing up itself. 

Healing. And that’s not the worst part, healing is a must. To live you must heal. I hear you asking me what you are healing from. From everything my dear. 

Healing from the scars caused by those supposed to have protected you from scars in the first place. Your family will hurt you. But more so your mother. And unless you heal from her wounds, you’ll end up causing more people harm. 

Healing will require you to open up those wounds all over again. All those hurtful words they told you over and over again. All those actions that got you feeling unwanted. All of them. And nothing hurts more than relieving pain. 

You’ll try and avoid it at first. See if you can live with the pain. But when that refuses to work, you’ll have no choice but to start the healing process. To open up the pus-oozing scars, to scrub them clean with pain-inducing drugs and to finally patch it up. That will feel like death. 

And just when you thought that after healing comes bliss, you’ll be shocked. After healing comes more healing. Its like never ending surgeries. And each one will be worst than the other. More painful. More earth shattering. And no, one never gets used to it. 

But something harder than that is starting anew all the time. You see, after healing comes new belief systems you must adapt, new truths you must remember. Sometimes even new friends. 

And all that newness means the old must go. Because new wine can’t be put into old wineskin. Your healed self can’t think and feel like the old self. It will need adjustments into your heart and head. Change is inevitable. But that doesn’t make it any easier to adapt to. And  just when you thought you have now arrived into a ‘workable’ you, you’ll start a new healing process restarting the whole damn cycle again. 

I won’t start telling you how it will be worth it. Because when you are in the middle of it, worth will be the last thing in your head. When you are busy running away from issues you are supposed to deal with, whether it will be worth it won’t cross your brain. And even when you stop to deal with it, the pain and anguish doesn’t share space with thoughts of what next. 

I won’t tell you to hold on there when the time comes. You won’t have the strength to. 

I won’t tell you to pray. Neither will you have the strength nor words to. 

But that doesn’t mean that God won’t come down to your level. Sometimes in the form of a song that tears you up. 

Other times in the form of that friend that just can’t let you give up on yourself. 

Brace yourself sweetheart for tough times ahead. Growing up is hard, but staying grown up is harder. 

Advertisements

About Being. 

Once upon a time I was an uptight person. Rigid. Purely black and white. If you knew me this year and came next year, you would find the exact same person you left, just an year older. I loved routine. I’ve always loved plans. I stuck to the ones I made. My decisions were final. Spontaneity was unheard of in me.

And then I went through a healing journey. Still going through it to date. It entailed stopping right there on the tracks and asking myself, who am I? What is my life? What do I feel about myself, but most importantly, why do I behave the way I do and believe in the things I believe in? Like for example, I hated marriage, there was a 99.9% that I wasn’t going to get married. For the longest time ever I simply thought the reason for that was ‘I just don’t want to’. Until I opened up my past and realised that decision was the end product of the wounds in my heart. 

It was painful. Finding myself that is. I cried for the first time after a decade and a half. I broke. Going back to my past and reliving it hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt. Heartaches are more painful than physical pain. I was vulnerable. I felt like just stopping in the middle of it, but God doesn’t start journeys He doesn’t finish. It was hard. Extremely hard. But I made it through. And there begun my journey into finding myself. 

After that beginning began, I intentionally decided to seek myself out. To know me. What does she like? What drives her crazy? What makes her angry? Who is she? What kind of a person is she? What’s her personality? What makes her cry? What does she enjoy doing? What can you get her as a gift? 

The things I previously thought I liked; some disappeared, while others got more defined. Like travelling for example, I realised that I love doing adrenaline-filled activities and that I would rather stay in a village somewhere in Malawi than in a 5 star Hotel. I loved writing, but this time round I discovered that I can barely write at someone else’s rules or directions. I simply write for myself. And on and on the discoveries went on. 

But the most beautiful thing that came out of it, something I did not anticipate or even imagine, was that I fell in love with myself. The person I discovered inside myself was the most beautiful soul I had ever encountered. I realised that this time round, I would choose my authentic self over anyone in the world. This time I did not love myself because we are supposed to, but because I chose to. That I love myself became a decision I made out of logic, not feelings or emotions. Not because feelings or emotions are unimportant but they are not permanent. That the only other being I would put ahead of myself and what I wanted was God. I became my number 1 support system. I chose me. And that was the best thing that ever happened to me. 

It paved way to an enjoyable life. My uptight self didn’t enjoy herself. But was I to go back to that time in my life, I would be that rigid person again. Because given depression and the baggage I was carrying around , I needed a fixed way of living to survive a day. That me back then was necessary for the kind of brokenness that I was. My heart and mind and soul were so lost that I needed some sort of order in the external life. Its what kept me going. So I wouldn’t demean the me I was back then. 

Except that now, I’m changing. Like forever changing. I’ve realised that I am so many things. The me I am now will be different from the one you meet next year. Some things will be similar while others will have been discarded. Every day I strive to make my life better. I’ll only be this young once. So I make decisions that are right according to me at the moment. I trust myself more. 

Only problem is, people love definitions. They would like to know you as being x, y and z. So they’ll act surprised and shocked if they ever find you as a,b and c. Like you’ve betrayed them somehow. Its like you were supposed to remain what they knew. 

The reactions I got this past week made me think. Not about myself, but how we perceive things. I’ve never applied make up in my life before last week. Reason being? I had no particular reason. Yes, there actually things I don’t do simply because I don’t. But people interpret that as , you not liking/approving of those things. So last week we were idling around with my cousin. Rather, I’m the idle one here (he he). So we decided to apply Mercy make up. None of us knew what to expect. 

But the me that got out of that experiment looked different. Very different but Good. I liked her. And so we’ve been playing around with make up on me after that. 

The reactions I was telling you about? Half of my friends were pleasantly surprised. Quarter didn’t know what to say. And half of the remaining quarter didn’t approve. It went against the me they had in their heads. 

Now before you tell me not to care about what other people say, I would like you to get a lesson from it. Who are you? What do people say you are? If I encounter you next year, will you still be the same? If what we knew about you ten years ago is still what we’ll know about you ten years to come, then you have a problem. Grow. And as you remove yourself from the box you’ve put yourself in, remove others too. Give them space to be what they want to be when they want to be. 

Now incase you are wondering whether I’m against Consistency, which is a good thing in itself, I’ll draw us to learn from God about just being. God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. This is not some pastor’s interpretation of His word, God Himself says so. That He never changes. That He is the same. That God told Joshua that He would be with Him the same way He was with Moses. If you look at Joshua’s life, do you see Him being like Moses in any way, besides both being leaders chosen by God? Their lives are different. Yet God kept His word. Same God, two humans, He is with both of them equally but different manifestation of same God in both lives. 

That’s my point. That who you are remains the same. The 5 year old girl is still alive in me. But what that me does in every situation and stage of life is different and should be so. You can’t make the same decisions during sunshine as during a flood. So today I look at myself, and seek to know the ever changing me, while removing others from any box I might have placed them in. Go out there and just be you. Just be. 

So Help me God. 

We like talking about our successes more than the challenges and difficulties we experience. God knows I love my high points in life. My lows are usually also really bad. 

But today I’ll talk about something I’ve struggled with. A blog. And not this one. Courtesy of being here, you know I love writing. Its like the only talent I have. Writing is my way of crying. And laughing. If I tell you a story verbally and I write about it, you might end up thinking they are two different versions. Writing is the only eloquent way of expressing myself that I know of. Its my lifeline. At some point, I even used to write to God. Like I prayed through writing. 

But there is something that fires me up more than writing. Something that I love with the every grain in me. It gives me sleepless nights. Literally. And it’s not traveling. Yet you know how much I love traveling. Hadi I’ve just finished reading an article of a single woman’s struggle to remain sane when everyone around her is getting married, and at the back of my mind I just thought, ” even if I hit 30, or 40 still single – but traveling the world, I don’t think I would want anything or anyone, I would be content”. That’s what traveling does to me. It completes gaps I didn’t know I had. It calls on to me and haunts me. My best friend knows how much I hate borrowing money, even when I have no cent on me. But I wouldn’t think twice, about taking a loan, whose repayment plan I don’t have, to travel. Traveling messes up my insides in a good way.

So what is this that I love more than the things that mean everything to me? The environment. Yeah, you heard it right. I loove what I studied. You wouldn’t want to get into a discussion with me on environmental matters, I just won’t shut up. And the fact that its living ( like our environment is ever changing) makes it different from my other two loves. The grand Canyon is forever there for my taking, while what I know now about the environment will be different in 5 yrs time. Which makes it a ticking bomb. 

I love talking about the environment. It just fires me up. And here in lies the problem. Unless I’m talking to fellow classmates, rarely is anyone interested in the environment. And even those who are, kinda know the wrong thing. I can confidently say this, that the average Kenyan( the guy on the street with may be a degree or diploma) , knows very little on environmental issues. And even that little they know of, is misinformation. I’ve told over a hundred people that I do environmental science. And out of all those( this is minus all who know or have heard of environmental science), only 1 man from my village, who has lived there his entire life, and never schooled past high school, actually accurately described what I do. Just 1. Out of all the people from different spheres of life, different professions etc. 1. 

So I shut up about it. I mean, you can’t meet up with someone and go for hours talking to them about strange things. But you can only compress a volcano for so long. It always explodes. Always. And that is how the idea to start an environmental blog came about. I love writing. And I love the environment. So why not mix them? God knows the excitement that consumed me the moment that idea was conceived in my mind. I didn’t sleep that night. The next day I kept on opening wordpress sites to no avail. Hadi I just opted for Blogspot from Google. It doesn’t look pretty but it works and that is what matters. 

Its been months now. Almost 6 I guess. And guess how many articles down the line? 2. In all those months, with all this passion, with all this free time, 2 pieces. I’ve thought about more articles to write there over a 1000 times. Literally. How many have come to fruition? Two. 

Yesterday as I was listening to some preacher diss Africa, I realized that he had some truths. He said the obvious things though. But things that we rarely take into consideration. You need a vision of what you want to achieve, an understanding of the field you are in and how it works, goals, and the application of all that you’ve come up with. Definitely you need a plan. Needless to say, when it came to my blog, I had nothing. I was treating it as this one, where I write when I want, which clearly only works here. 

So here I am. On my hands I have passion and knowledge that I want to share. I drafted a plan. I have a vision that is quite ambitious from my point of view. But I know that deep down its achievable. In my heart I’m a little scared. They keep on insisting, Just Do it. Do you know how its not easy to just do it?. 

I’m battling all this questions of what if I lose momentum again? What if the goal I have in mind is not sustainable? What do I do to ensure that I stick to my plan? Fine myself? Give myself incentives for work well done? Which one works better, a present or a punishment? Do I call a friend to keep me accountable on publishing in the frequency I have set? Or do I just start? But what if I don’t finish? 
I have so many questions. But one thing I know, is that I can’t live with myself if I let this dream of mine go to waste. If I don’t actualize that blog, and make it a living house, I might forever resent myself. And if there is one person, whose view of me I hold on high esteem, its me. I know I’ll disappoint people on the way. My reputation may not be the best. But I don’t live with people. I live with myself. So I better be in good terms with myself for any semblance of peace in my heart and mind. 

This is the bottom. My environmental blog will never be here again. With 2 pieces. So I guess that’s a good thing. I’m picking up the pieces and forging onwards. I don’t know what it will take to take the thoughts from my head,and transform them to a written article , to a published article and finally to a publicized piece. But whatever it takes, however long it does, it will be done. 

So help me God. 

In the mean time, you can check the first two pieces here and follow us on

 FB -EnvironmenToday

IG – environmenToday

Twitter- @environmenToday

And in case you would want to contribute in any way, contact me at theenvironmentoday@gmail.com or mmercymwende@gmail.com

This period. 

I went for an impromptu interview yesterday. Impromptu because I didn’t even know that the job existed and neither was it in my field of expertise. 

I stumbled through the answers. Whatever I had prepared for in that last one hour wasn’t asked. I was asked about myself. And I stammered. This selling myself to strangers for a job is all new.

I had thought about a lot of things before finishing school. About getting a job or internship. About tithing. And paying for white water rafting. But I hadn’t thought keenly about the in-between period. About countless applications. Who would have thought ” I’m applying ” would be answer to “what do you do nowadays?”. 

I’m not frustrated. Yet. I’m like a child taking in a new environment. Maybe because I was prepared to fight for myself. For what I want. And that means saying no to offers that don’t suit what I want. 

This phase. Tarmacking. Its a weird one. I’m glad I have options. But the biggest thing I’m grateful for; is the period of learning this time is turning out to be. Its one of those instances that growth takes place in a supersonic speed. Attitudes have to be changed. Mindsets have to be shed off. I have to unlearn things and replace them immediately. 

But the biggest of those lessons, is to put myself first. That for the first time in my life, I’m living for myself only. Not even my parents. I’ve always been that good child/friend, I would consider your needs above mine. But now, that firstborn spirit of selflessness will have to take a backseat. And weirdly enough, its not easy. You would think that putting yourself first should come automatically. It doesn’t for me. I will have to work towards it. And its not easy. But I’m committed. Plus there is no other way to live the remaining years of my life. 

This period. I have so much to say about it yet so little. Plus words have been failing me of lately. All I know, is that I’m in a transition period. And it feels transitory. 

CHANGE

image

I’ve just stumbled on my old playlist. Music has always been an important part of my life. That cheerleader who is always there in both good and bad times. Every time I hear an old song, my mind goes back to its season, what my life was about during that time when I replayed that song in its freshness. Some songs have always been there, but those are few and rare.

These songs I’ve stumbled upon are not so old. They are from two years old. I was twenty. I’m turning twenty two in ten days time. I can’t  reconcile them to the me of now. Like none of them has made it to my current playlist. Not even one. Listening to them since last night, they have taken me back to the kind of a person I was. And I can’t help but realize that I have changed. Yes I knew I was growing up, being more mature, adulting has been taking place but in my mind, all that was building up on the old me. This music playlist seems to differ. I’m a different person now. I’ve changed. And I’m yet to comprehend that.

But all signs point to that. 80% of the songs here are purely sad. Like heart wrenching songs. I must have been very sad to enjoy such a playlist. Like really lost and depressed. They speak of a broken heart with no hope at all. I think I must have not seen a light at the end of the tunnel. All I was, was ashes. And yet I didn’t cry during that time. I must have been beyond tears. Numb yet hurting. Emotionless yet filled with anguish. The me I see through this songs was a ‘dead’ one.

Right now, I don’t care much about lyrics. I listen to songs that allow me room to concentrate on my own thoughts. Music nowadays stays in the background. Those days, I listened to songs that thought for me, songs that said exactly what I would have thought if I allowed myself to think. Thoughts then used to traumatize me, so I did anything to run away from thinking. At least about myself. Right now I can barely sing word by word of most songs in my playlist, besides one or two. Listening to this old playlist I can feel my subconscious bringing to remembrance word by word of this numerous songs. I knew them by heart.

And they are loud. Right now my playlist is mainly made up of soft music. Music that does not make a lot of noise. Then, I must have loved rock-like sounds. These songs are full of action, right now it feels like noise, but at that time, they were my lullaby. I can’t imagine listening to these loud songs right now over and over again. But I understand the me of then, who needed louder noise to calm the loud voices in her head. And I sympathize with the girl I was then. The person I was in those times.

A friend has been complaining on how I’m not the person he knew two years ago. Then, I used to do things for him, he made it sound like I was in his beck and call. And the worst thing is that he had proof. Listening to him talk, I cringed. Who was that Mercy? Why on earth did she do all that for? Love? Attention? Kindness? What was running through her mind then? I couldn’t for the life of me see any aspect of her in the woman I’ve become. Like not even with a microscope. Anyway, as for this guy, he will be waiting for eternity for that old girl to come back to him.

Looking back, I feel as if the canvas my life was painted upon was replaced with a new one. I thought the paintings were the ones  that were rubbed off for new ones to be drawn, but now when I can’t recognize myself in the old me, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Something very fundamental to my existence changed. Something pivotal shifted. Change. Its different from Growth, from Maturity.

Change now explains the many things I find in my current world. The friends I am gaining, two years ago, the kind of a person I was, would not even have imagined being friends with such kind of people. The things I want would make the former me, wonder in amazement at what went wrong on the road to greatness that I had planned out. The things I have prioritized now barely made it to the least 30 of my prioritized things of then. The friends I’m letting go, the old me had hung on to with all her strength. I enjoy thinking, I live in my thoughts now, previously I did anything to run away from thinking. Anything.

They say change is the only constant thing in life. But I doubt any monumental change shall ever occur after this. It feels like the person I was for those twenty years was a totally different one from the character I am growing into right now. I thank God for taking me out of the holes I was buried in those times. I pat myself on the back for wanting more than being dead while alive and for fighting herself out of her early grave. I almost feel like I should conduct a funeral service complete with a eulogy and old friends and new friends standing on opposite sides of the casket. But for the sake of showing that I’m still sane, I will not. But point is, wherever the former me went, I empathize with her, I really do. But I’m glad she is dead. I love the woman I’m becoming. Even during the darkest times now, I know I am alive. Even on her brightest days then, she was just existing never alive. I hear people do some things in remembrance of their loved ones. Like behave well the way the deceased one would have preffered. As for me, I will do the exactly opposite what the former me would have done. I will live my life in the way that if she ever came back to life she would instantly go back to wherever she came from. But I also appreciate the fact that if she had never existed and lived the way she did, I would never truly the beauty of the life I’m living now.She taught me how it feels like to be dead yet still alive. How to fake a smile till it becomes the new genuine. Now I know the warmth of real friends. The relief of saying what’s truly in your mind and the joy of doing what you sincerely want.

I guess this is a celebration of life. Of the one I have now. And a send off to the person I was once. Being me right now is worth being alive.