You shall live.

You wonder whether the song has a double meaning. Like the book you read today. Or its just the way it is. The way it is. Water is water, but depending on the recipient, it could be a pond, a lake, a river or an ocean.

But at least now you can start wondering what that song means. Unlike the last few minutes where it made you cry. And you felt bad for your ears. For being clogged up with tears.

Relief. Is what you feel now. For realizing that you had been too far gone. Than you realized. Than you let on. Than you thought possible. You had thought that, just like other seasons, this too shall pass.

What you didn’t know is that you were hurtling towards the oblivion. Oblivious of it. One foot was already in the grave. Waiting for you to get tired completely. And that was happening sooner than you admitted to yourself.

Till they called you back to life.

You thought you would just snap out of it. That one day things would start working out and you would just up as if you had been waiting for them. You thought you would just dust off and move on.

Till now. When you have been offered what your heart wanted. What once made you smile when talking about your goals and dreams. And yet.

And yet, you were not happy. Or exhilarated. Or at least hopeful. You weren’t sad either. You just were. Indifferent.

And that scared you. Because you are not supposed to be indifferrent to things that once made you giddy with excitement thinking about them. You are not supposed to be indifferent when things look like they’ll work out somehow.

Call my name and bring me back to life. You don’t remember the title of that song. But its been running through your head the whole day. You never thought that line would ever apply to you. Till today.

You don’t know how to go about this. How do you come back to life? Which life? What life? How do you build ruins you thought were supposed to be crashed and buried? Will they be worth it? Will the new you be worth the energy required for a resurrection? Where do people buy energies to resurrect? Do you have purchasing power to begin with?

You stagger our of the grave. You try to run. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Maybe you buried a part of yourself in this season. That part of you that could run when all you wanted was to rest. That you that could do things because they were supposed to be done not because you wanted to.

This you walks at its pace. And right now, it seems malnourished. Can’t walk too fast, runs out of breath easily, is afraid and curious at the same time.

So you make plans for tomorrow. And hope that it comes with will power and energy for the day. And even if it doesn’t, you shall live.

Advertisements

In the middle of a storm

I met some lady from church the day before yesterday who thought that I’ve not been writing much of late. And in truth I miss writing. Like writing what’s in my mind. But I rarely write when I’m in a bad phase. Because then, what’s in my mind? Do I tell you about the discouraging thoughts I’m fighting not to think or about the thoughts I hope to think? What do you tell people when you can’t precisely describe what’s wrong with you?

Anyway, I attended Stories of Courage September edition, and the conversations we had there spoke to my situation. So I’ll share some points. 

You know sadness and happiness have an equal stake in your life, right? That pain and joy have the exact claim towards you. So why do we live half of our lives only expecting the best? Only hoping for the better? When someone is feeling low, we tell them to hold on there, better times are ahead. We live half of our lives ignoring it and disregarding it and wishing it away. Instead, why not embrace it? Pain, discouragement, betrayal, hurt and tears are here to stay, so why not find ways of coping when they knock our door?

And to start us off, how do you know you are going through a bad phase? For some its obvious. For some of us, we have to identify our triggers. Those things that if you feel or see or hear will take you back to parts of yourself haven’t healed. Use them to know the onset of a bad phase. One of the signs for me is if I start feeling lazy of reading. I love reading. I follow at least 20 consistent bloggers. Which means my mail everyday has something for me. But there are days when I just don’t feel like reading anything. But should that persist for let’s say a month, it shows me I’ve been postponing dealing with some issues. So what are your triggers or signs of deeper internal issues that need to be paid attention to?

And secondly, how do you cope? Like what do you do when you get angry? How do you let out the steam in you? What takes you through those days when you are hurting? When you feel worthless, desperate and frustrated, what brings your groove back? Some suggestions given during Stories of Courage include, find something you enjoy doing, and do it. Find also something you are good at and do it. Even if its a small thing in comparison to the problems you are facing. 

And most importantly, don’t focus on the things you don’t have or what is wrong with your life. Look at yourself, what do you have? What can you do now? As a person, how can you better yourself as of now? Live in the moment. Not in the past in terms of what went wrong, or in the future, in terms of what could be. 

I’ll be the first to admit that the above is easier said than done. I’m going through a phase where not even words of encouragement get through to me. Either from myself or anyone else. I love writing. But its become a burden of late. But in the middle of all this, I’ve encountered something that has brought me pure joy. Something that has pierced all that darkness surrounding my heart and made me genuinely happy. Guess what it is? I’ve mentioned here before that as a kid I wanted to be an astronomer. The stars and all that information about light years used to dazzle the 9 year old me. I could stay for an hour watching the stars as a kid. 

But adulting happened. And the last time I read anything on the stars was over a decade ago. As a kid. Then I got into a lopha that was showing videos on random things among them adverts. And one of those videos was of space. I noted down the name of that science website and came to look for it. And from then my heart has shit its pants(yes Wamzi, I just had to use your words here;), from the images and information that’s out there about the universe. Seems my 9yr old self was more versed on what poisons to take to heal herself(no pun intended). 

Another thing that has been riding me through this phase is Jazz music. I cringed with shame when I heard Shamsi’s music yesterday for the first time. Like those are Kenyans producing music I’ve been looking for for years. Yet I didn’t know them. Nairobi Horns also isn’t that bad. Dave Koz tags my heart. But best of all for me has been Two Steps from Hell. I can stay all day listening to them. 

Astronomy and classical music will not definitely solve my problems, but they make the stay bearable. Its like having a jumper during a very cold day. You’ll still feel cold, but at least it will be bearable. 

As I smile in the middle of this storm, these are the words running through my mind: the stars always shine. 

Ooh..and in case you want to enjoy some things not concerned with Earth, check out the last post at here

Soak. 

I sat next to a man yesterday in a lopha. I wanted to skin him alive for getting the window seat. Not when it was evening and the orange hue of the sun was visible. And as we started moving, the sun in its majesty took a peak from the extremely dark clouds. It was a sight to behold. I wanted to take a pic. But remember I didn’t have the window seat. And as I looked at the sun, I noticed that that man was taken in by the sun too. His mind wasn’t there at all. Its like he was part of that moment with the sun. 

And it occurred to me, that at times we are so immersed in our own lives, that it never occurs to us that we are one. That though our lives may be different, we go through stuff, we have bad days, we have good days. That though our economic situations differ, we worry, we fall, we cry, we feel pity for ourselves. That though believing different gods, we at some point wonder what’s the point of all this. That though headed to the same direction, our paths are all unique. 

Unique in the same way. And sometimes, we look at ourselves and wish we had more. Wish we were in better situations. Better places at life. We look at others and think that though they are struggling, they are better off. It never occurs to us, that our life will never be better. In a twisted sense. As in, even if I travelled the world, I would still be struggling with something. I’ll still be here writing about my highs and lows. I still won’t think that life is fair. 

So what do we do? This can never be overemphasized. Live in the moment. What’s the use of worrying yourself to death or struggling to your end point to reach the next point of life which will be full of struggles anyway? As in, not to sound hopeless, but if you are riding a bike, enjoy every bit of it. Don’t spend the whole of your time on that bike wishing for a car. Do your best to get that car, but don’t let your bike days pass you by just like that, make the most out of them. 

I attended my first funeral as an adult as I mentioned here recently. And the moment that stuck with me, was when the guy’s grave was being filled up with soil. A group of people were singing. All those Kikuyu songs that require a drum only. And they danced. And danced. Men in suits danced. Women in sparkling clean vitenges sang at the top of their voices. You would have thought they were auditioning for a spot in heaven’s choir. While the family members of the deceased cried. They wept. Some stared stone faced into the grave. The men helped with filling up the grave hole. While the rest of us stood. And watched the scene unfolding before us. It was almost as if I was part of a movie but still watching it unfold. 

That scene has stuck with me. Our pastor always reminds us, that you are either going through a wilderness( a hard patch of life), just from one, or just about to get into one. I was in a wilderness. I struggled, I fought. But things got better. And no, they didn’t get better by me getting out of the wilderness(which would anyway only mean I’m about to get into a next one, right? Told you its pointless). I just got comfortable in the wilderness. Like found a spot in this desert and decided to call it home while I’m in here. And while in here, its so easy to feel as if life is passing you by. 

But i’m realising, that I’ll never be here again. So I’ll cry the most I can. I’ll laugh as much as I can. I’ll do what’s in my powers to do right now, because this is what life has handed me now. I’ll attend funerals and comfort those I came to see with my silence. Knowing that one day, I will be among the singers. And on that day, just like those men in suits, decorum won’t matter. I’ll dance my heart out as a source of comfort. And I do know that one day I will lose someone. And I’ll weep. I’ll grief. I’ll mourn. I’ll miss them. I’ll feel lost without them. But above all that, I know that one day I’ll be the one in the grave. And I hope that the singers and dancers will escort my soul with such vigour and violence that Saint Peter will have no option but to fasten my registration into heaven. 

And for now, I realise that I’m not alone. We are together in this thing called life. Don’t ever feel hopeless. Look outside yourself, people are going through stuff just as you are. They become happy, just as you laugh once in a while. They enjoy the things they enjoy. They have dreams and wishes. And just like you, they are doing what they can with the cards life has dealt them. So rise up. And just like the man in the matatu, soak yourself in the moment. 

So help me God. 

You walk around in life, thinking you are normal. That though going through ups and downs in life, life is okay. I mean, that’s only normal, right? You get good days and bad days. You have awesome friends that you constantly thank God for. You have a good relationship with God, that you feel so undeserving to have, which is true anyway, you don’t deserve it. And you have good parents, who though you guys cross each other’s paths at times, are still the best, but that’s only normal, right? 

And so you wake up one morning wondering what’s up with  your life. You blame it on your joblessness, until you realise that sincerely speaking, you are kinda lucky to have this free time. And it might be the only time you are free like this in your entire life. So why the restlessness? You try and find quick fixes to your problem. A relationship comes in handy here. But it doesn’t fill that vacuum in you. You go to God. And the guy up there gives you promises for your future, and stays with you right now. Like you can feel His presence every single day. 

But what about today? When everything else is removed, what remains? When God tells you about your future, what about your today? But knowing God, you know the answer to that. That when God annoints you as a future king, He expects you to continue doing what you do daily until your time comes. 

And guess what you’ve been doing? You know you have much potential. And much promise. And many promises for the future from God and other human quarters. So what did your self do? It picked itself up, dressed itself up as a king, and went to demand for its rightful king position. Do you remember the promise was the future not now? But who cares? Someone said you were going to be a king. You knew it. But the current king certainly didn’t think so. I mean , you don’t become king by potential, you become king by actions. So they rejected you. 

And as you look at your silent phone and gmail , you realise that you are a spoilt brat. Because all factors on hold, why would the best employ you? Sincerely speaking, were you them, you wouldn’t employ you. You would be looking for substance, not future substance. Not potential. 

You look at God, and you realise, that favor is unfair. That your perception of God and His goodies has made you a brat. He said He will give you the rest when you sought after His kingdom. So you sought after Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Knowing God, the guy is faithful to a fault. Meaning that He already gave you this ‘ the rest shall follow’ that He talks about. Only problem is, you two seem to have different meanings of that phrase. You think cars, a good job and travelling while if reality is anything to go by, clearly Jesus meant otherwise when saying that. 

And so you wake up one morning, and laugh hard. At yourself. You has been stupid. You has been foolish. But the worst part is that you has been entitled. You have been living life as if it owes you something. As if your parents ought to support you a little further than they are already doing. As if God was supposed to bring your desires to your doorstep. As if your life was just supposed to happen. 

You get ashamed and cringe inside because clearly being bright didn’t insure you against foolishness. And you silently apologise to the world for thinking it owes you. You apologise to God for assuming that because He has a bright future planned for you, you should just go and wait it out. You pray for a second chance. To not get a job right now. Because you have somethings you need to get down to and do before life becames busy. 

You look at your past. At the mindset you had. At the rants you made. At the things you complained about. At the wrong ideas you had about life. And you wonder how on earth you walked around being so ignorant and happy. Now you understand why stupid people are ‘happy’ people. Not knowing insulates you from the responsibility that comes with knowing. 

But most importantly, you forgive yourself. And hold no grudge for your past. It was good when it lasted. But it’s time to move forward. And to do that, you look at the cards life has dealt you with, and you ask yourself, what do I have in my hands right now? Because that is what you do as you await your future. You don’t wait. You live. 

And as you look at life with these new eyes, you know now from the deepest part of your heart, that if you don’t make it, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying. That if your dreams don’t come true, it wasn’t because you didn’t go after them. That if you died right now, you will die trying, not waiting. The world owes you nothing. That phrase has really taken you long to internalize. But better late than never. You are here now. You look at the sheep that you as David is taking care of as you await your king days, and you now know that should any lion dare steal any of them, you’ll kill it with your own hands. This drive coming from the inside of you, fires you up. And you know its not for a day. Or two. You have the kind of minds that when they focus on something, they go after it with everything in them. 

This reminds you of a conversation you overheard. A man was asking your father to recommend someone to help around during the campaigns period. And he was mentioning names while your father commented on them. All of them were good and had their faults too. Except one guy. Apparently, this one guy, if you told him to go distribute or stick posters in schools, he would do exactly that, even if it meant beating up the principals who stood in his way. Just to put up posters. Obviously that’s not how your dad described the guy but from his description that’s what came to mind. And though funny, you admired the guy.  That he would destroy anything in his pathway , just to do what he was supposed to do. 

And though you don’t have that kind of focus, you now know my priorities. At this point. Not in the future. This lesson has taken you so long to learn. Like its been a long time coming. And its here now. You love where you are right now. You are amazed at where you want to be in the next one month. And in between lies a lot of work. But you feel pity for anything that dares come between the now you love  and the amazing future that you are working towards.
 So help me God. 

Its not going to be okay. 


Have you ever been in a hole that just seems to get deeper? When you are tired? Emotionally, spiritually and physically? When you get a burn out after a burn out after another one? When you are anxious, in despair and confused? Everything you try to do to help yourself fails. If you are lucky you get a day or two of being on a high then you go back to zero. You cry. You cry out for help to your friends. Even when that’s not the way you deal with things. Things are bad. You know it. Things are only going to get worse. You can feel it. And deep inside, you are afraid that this will kill you. Its already breaking you anyway. 

I’ve been there. Our situation is definitely different, but I think a few words of ‘encouragement’ will come in handy. 

1. Don’t Fight It. 

Feel everything. And I know very well that when I’m telling you this, all emotions inside of you are ‘bad’. They are the things people tell you to avoid and run away from. But soak in it. If you wake up feeling anxious, feel it. Soak in it. Stop being afraid of despair and guilt and regret. Its at this point that you will realize that the world lied to you. Sadness has a claim to you as much as happiness. Don’t fight it at all. You find yourself walking and all over sudden, feelings of anxiety strike you, don’t fight it, don’t rebuke it, don’t try to rise above it, soak in it. 

I can’t insist on this enough. But this phase will only get to its climax soon enough, when you stop fighting it. I know it isn’t the norm, it isn’t normal, but for your new normal that will be ushered by the end of this phase, you need to go through every bit of emotion. Especially the sad ones. 

2. Its only getting worse. 

Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound like encouragement, but its the reality. You see that hole you are in, it will only get darker and you will keep on hurtling downwards. This is pain accumulated. You have compartmentalized this pain for years. It will take a tremendous effort to retrieve it. Think of it this way, assuming you went through a tragic accident that you buried deep inside you. You’ve never recalled it ever again. You moved on. Nowadays you are kinda happy, you have your bad days too, but generally you are okay. Now, in your ‘current normal’ state, that tragic accident memory can not be replayed in the kind of mindset you have right now. 

But its time for you to finally deal with that accident once and for all. And for that to happen, for those boxes to be opened, your mind has to be in the right state/frame to replay and deal with those memories. Which is why your ‘self’ is hurtling you back to a place of pain, anxiety, despair and hopelessness- because that is the only frame of mind that can open up those boxes. And unless you get to it, nothing will change. And by the time you are going through all this, its time for that change. 

So now that you are not fighting it, realise that next week will only be worse. And the week after that, the worst. And on it will go until you reach the lowest that you can go. And only then shall you be now able to work a way forward. Which is why all kinds of help that you are trying to get now are backfiring. Because the place of help, the place of moving forward, is a little further on the way. Its only getting worse, more reason to stop fighting it. 

3. Talk to God. 

If you can’t talk, cry. This is not the time to pray what you ‘should’ pray. This is the time for bluntness. Tell Him if you feel abandoned. Personally, I used to feel as if God wasn’t being helpful enough. Here I was, I had brought my issues to Him( yes, I had admitted to myself and to God that I had issues), and I felt as if He was failing me. Like He was not doing His part. I was hurtling towards desperation yet I had run to Him for help. His word said over a hundred times that if you call for help, He will answer positively. And help was not coming. Or so I thought. Talk to him about that. The situation is still getting worse. But the goodness is that your friendship with God will be cemented. Because above all, God knows what you are going through. And at this point you will feel as if no one understands. So the fact that no one understands will work in God’s favor. He understands. Plus its better to cry to God, where there is hope, than to cry to nothing. Either way, you’ll cry. 

4. You need a support system

When you finally reach the bottom of the hole, you won’t be the same. Your reputation won’t matter. Who people think you are will not matter. The things/behavior/attitudes/mindset you’ve held on to because they describe who you ‘thought’ you were will take a backseat. And now it will be time to unveil the new you. That you will do crazy things. Things that are not ‘you’. That you will fight for herself. That you will tread new territories. 

In the middle of that, you will need someone to tell you its okay. Its okay to bleed. Its okay to take baby steps. Its okay  to not be okay. Its okay to dare. Its okay to hurt others in the process. Because at times, your healing will require you to call out people who hurt you, and that may involve bluntly calling out the status quo. 

Share the journey with someone. You will receive help and encouragement from really unexpected quarters. Take it, you will need it. Just don’t go through this alone. Share your pain. Allow yourself to cry on people’s shoulder. Disturb your friends. Call them at weird hours. Text them when you feel you are at your wits end. Your friendships will benefit from this. 

But a word of caution, you will be dissed. 90% of people may not even understand your journey. They will find it unnecessary. Some will shut you down by the saying, ” everyone has issues, some even had it rougher than you”. Don’t listen to them. Its your pain. Only you knows how it feels like to be anxious and sad without knowing the source if it. Trudge on. 
And finally, the worse it is, the better the kind of person who will come out of it all. Every new scale of pain, is a prelude to the lighter and free you. This is not the whole healing. But it’s the beginning of the healing process. Own it. Live it. 

Its not okay, its not going to be okay for a while, and you will not come out of it okay. You will come out being You. A You who is not scared, who is ready to live her own life the way she wants. A You who will love herself not any less. A You who will prioritize what she wants. And who will fight for herself. A You who will strive to befriend herself and that’s going to be the best gift you ever gave yourself. 

Its not okay. It has never been okay. You are not okay. And never were you meant to be. And to ever be what you were meant to be, this phase is not only necessary but also important.