Self-denial

JUST SAY NO. END OF STORY.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” – Paulo Coelilo

I can bet that there are a ton of ladies who can identify with the negative of that statement. Me inclusive. There are more women suffering guilty and self-deprecating thoughts of always wanting to please others other than ourselves.

So that we find ourselves in gatherings, parties or other engagements that do not align with us and we end up feeling sorry for ourselves by the time its over or we regret the things we should have done but didn’t do because we had to go somewhere with someone we couldn’t say no to.

We gradually watch our lives diminish with very little confidence and gut because we are constantly blaming someone for the opportunities we missed and the chance we didn’t take.

It is a compulsive subconscious urge to self-reproach, one of self-betrayal. We make it look like we are completely helpless, that we are stuck with these people who constantly drain us and demean us.

What we must realize however, is that as long as we keep allowing these negative influences into our lives, we will keep losing grip of our ability to take hold of the reins and choose our own path.

No one has the power to make you feel inferior unless you give them the permission. When you constantly say ‘no’ to yourself and your inner truth, you give other people the permission to ruin your plans and inadvertently your life.

It is only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. – SPJ 1955-2011

It is okay to say no. So long as you are not saying no to your priorities, your plans, your potential and your peace of mind. As far as you are not saying no to your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your dignity, you are free to say ‘no’ to anything or anyone that volunteers otherwise.

People most of the time are not clear themselves about what they want or where they want to be so in the bid to get approval, they try to rope others into their plans and mostly they will prey on the persons they consider to be weak-willed or not having a mind of their own. They will prey on the impressionable and the wimpish but this doesn’t have to be you.

At any given moment, you have the power to say, ‘this is not how the story is going to end’. – Unknown

Decide that you will take charge of your life and that you will begin to say yes to your own priorities and values, to your own sanity and your liberty. The more you say yes to your inner truth the clearer you become about the things and or persons that do not compliment your authentic self.

You become bolder at ‘saying no’ to time wasters and busy-bodies and to negative minded people who once preyed on your ignorance. Now you know better and you don’t have to worry your head over who is upset or offended by your ‘NOs’; that becomes the least of your problems.

At every given point in time make sure you are ‘saying yes’ to yourself and ‘saying no’ to insecurity, low self-esteem and self-deprecation. Do not cower for fear of being perceived as mean or insolent either. As a matter of fact you are better off because you now see clearly, and can distinctly identify the people who need your attention, love and affection.

From now on, whenever you are faced with a situation requiring your decision or commitment and you can tell deep down that it doesn’t look like an explicit ‘yes’, just say no, end of story. Try it today; knowledge does not apply itself, we learn by doing. Begin to say No!

“If it’s not an Absolute Yes, it’s a NO.” – Cheryl Richardson

YES_NO_MAYBE

UNDERCOVER VICTIM

I’m thinking about a horrifying story I heard recently about an undergraduate who took the life of his father; stabbed him and chopped him up into bits. This is not a crime story on TV, it happened real in Nigeria, in a country I live in, a real life horror. And all I could think of was, “Whatever went wrong?…How did he get there?”


Unearthed earth
Underwater casket
Deadly secrets
Underlying dirt
Caked clay
Hidden weapon
Covered corpses
Glossed surfaces
Layered strata

Concealed issues
Hidden murders
Secret hatred
Smoldering embers
Unresolved riddles
Colored perceptions
Twisted images
Silent rage
Sleeping volcano

Breaking and entering
Bloody vendetta
Stained carpets
Seared consciences
Broken fences
Broken hearts
Shattered confidence
Death


“Death of the human soul, death of friendship, death of trust, death of a loved one, death of peace, death of love, death of truth. Death is inevitable when we do not speak out in the open, when we do not speak up with courage, when we let things slide, go under. Death is inevitable when we don’t allow the light to shine through.

Underwater

LOST BUT NOT LOST

Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in what you love, you’ll find yourself there right back again – Marc & Angel

This is a typical case of finding a needle in a haystack, how does that happen? By a miracle. Simple. Only a miracle will suddenly bring you to the spot, at a time when you aren’t even looking, and voila, your needle. You pick it up and you laugh to yourself because you know that sort of thing doesn’t just happen and not to everyone. You think for a moment that perhaps, you are special after all.

There are moments in life when, like the needle in a haystack, you are lost and completely clueless. When you first started out, it was fun and dazzling, now it is well… a step away from crazy and insane as in really bad. Not good kinda bad.

You are wondering, wasn’t I supposed to be on this job for two years and then return to my home country? Why isn’t that happening? Why haven’t I made a move to quit? Wasn’t this supposed to be a casual date, why do I suddenly want more than just a casual date? Why do I suddenly harbor thoughts of satin dresses and cakes? This wasn’t part of the plan? Didn’t I say no babies until I had my second degree? How come I don’t feel a tinge of regret since the third baby arrived?

What is wrong with me? Am I losing my zip? Is this what happens when, you feel you are on the right track only to discover  you’ve  made a wrong decision, and then before you know it, everything collapses on you? What is happening to me? Why do I feel lost? I do love my life, but this new path was never part of the plan, how much longer before I lose my joy? Trust me, I can tell that something is awfully wrong, I usually don’t do this, I’m  usually not like this. I used to be the life of the party. The person everyone wants to talk to. The one who always dressed the sexiest. My days were brighter and funner.

What’s happening is that, we shift and we morph and we change, and when we change, everything changes. We stop loving peppers and start obsessing over garlic. We suddenly don’t want to travel the world again, we want to build a family. We wake up with a new urge and we start to draw a new map. We are loving it, but we are scared. We are frightened. We are terrified because we do not know where this new yearn will take us, how far it will throw us and maybe too far from the original plan, too far from the original goal.

It is true that our goals do evolve. It may look like a different goal but it is the same target, same aim. Same dream to be, do and have more in life. The dream to be all that we can. The sheer knowing that we can do all things, causes our subconscious mind to constantly bring our way all kinds of possibilities to ensure that we drink our fill of life.

So, it’s okay to feel lost sometimes, that things aren’t going as planned and what’s even scarier is that you aren’t inclined to stop it. You love the change. You secretly enjoy what it is doing to you, but you feel deep inside that you may have betrayed your dreams, no you haven’t. Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in what you love, you will find yourself there, right back again. Meaning, it’s only a matter of time and then the fog will clear and you find that you are right where you should be at the very place where it all adds up.

Lost but not lost

 

Sometimes you have to say yes to what you really feel to be free indeed

 

I know we try to do our best all the time. I know we all truly wish to be good and try to do right by all means. I know we try to change our thought patterns and try to adopt new value systems. I know in general, we want to forgive, we want to let go, we want to move on.

We try every tool in the box and follow the 7 steps written in the book but if we are sincere with ourselves, if we keep still for just one minute, one-second, we will sense the rumbling deep down inside of our stomach. Down underneath the sea of conflicting emotions, lying still and undisturbed at the bottom of our hearts, is the hate we truly feel, the raging anger, toxic unforgiveness and bitterness eating away at our core.

While we go about our quiet lives, we sense its presence, and every now and then amidst our devoted worship and sincerities and professed goodness, we sense a faint vibration, a small movement of the beast sleeping within our subconscious. Even though we have successfully concealed the hate with layers and layers of positive affirmations and pronouncements, in group gatherings and in private therapy, we sense the phantom, the sleeping beast, a looming disaster, the deadly clutter that holds us back from being the best and greatest that we could be.

Here then, is my theory. Why tell ourselves a lie when we can tell ourselves the truth. Sometimes it is only when we have told ourselves the truth about what we truly feel that we can then recreate a new and transforming truth that frees us from the bounds of hate. Sometimes these negative feelings need recognition, airing and verbalizing as much as we can.

Sometimes to gain closure, we must take a bold step to being completely open with ourselves. We must vent in the true sense of the word. It is not okay to say simply “When I was with you, you hurt me real bad, and its hard for me to forget…” rather say, “When I was with you, you pawned me like a game, and of all the people I have been with, you hurt me the deepest and the longest. You made me hate myself for being so vulnerable, I hate you for what you made me become and I hope you feel the hate for as long as you live…”

Whoooo, you may be thinking, that is harsh, that is hatred, that is bitterness. Yes, it is, but isn’t that what you truly feel for that person whose memory always grates your senses whenever you hear their name mentioned? If you will be truly free, you must let those feeling out of the bag, and only then can you release them. You can send it in an email, or simply write it down on paper…whatever works for you.

The idea is, you must let out the venom or otherwise be poisoned forever by it. When you do, you free your subconscious of it’s deadly sting and you free your mind to embrace your future without any limits or hold. Remember to do this intentionally too, by that I mean, if you are going to let out the venom, do it with the sole purpose of wanting to be free of the hate. Do it because you want sanity for yourself and peace deep within your soul. Do it because it is what you need to be truly free of your past and the people that have hurt you so badly. Do it for yourself, to be happy and be free not inflict hurt on the other person or cause more damage.

That is why I do not recommend the email, because every word you write to describe your hurt will be carrying the negative vibrations of the hurt, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness you’ve soaked in all these years and months. And what you will invariably do to that person is poison whatever peace they may have at the time and cause them to revisit the past again with guilt and regret and sometimes the person becomes damaged goods and they may never recover. You don’t want that. You don’t want to be responsible for any more hate and unforgiveness.

What you want is peace, love, and hope in abundance. In other to achieve that you will need a little bit of faith and a large chunk of belief and courage to trust that simply writing it down (which is what I recommend) will set you free just as much but without causing any more damage. And because every word you write down is negatively charged with all the bad energy from that experience, that piece of paper becomes the victim of that venting and the out pour of your venom. It is that piece of paper that bears the cross and the crucifixion.

After writing down your hate, what you do next is write down your freedom on a separate sheet of paper. Write how you want to feel and how you believe you should be feeling about the experience. Write you healing, your forgiveness, and your hopes. Write them all down and bless your past for the lessons learnt. Write something like “I forgive myself for being a victim in this relationship, for allowing myself to be pawned and belittled. I forgive you for being the mean person that you were and I hope you can forgive yourself for how it all ended. I release you today.” Whatever represents your story, just make sure you are kind and express the freedom you yearn.

What you do next is as bizarre as this whole therapy gets, you burn the first sheet of paper and from your hearts of hearts let it all go. Let go of the hate, the anger, the bitterness and the pride. What you have left is the new truth you have written on the other sheet of paper, it is your testimonial of having fought a good fight and run with perseverance the race that was a failed relationship, a betrayal or broken trust or whatever it is you are battling.

If you still feel the urge to send an email or a text, then you can send your new truth, in doing os you do not hurt the receiver nor send them back into limbo or anything of that sort. Instead you leave them in a good place. A place where they are free to deal with their issues objectively and however that turns out is really none of your business because some people are die hards and never forgive just as much as they never forget.

However, what you would have achieved is really big. You would have aired your negative feelings and emotions, freed your self from a self-imposed prison, and self-afflicted venom that could have destroyed you. You would have earned your freedom and above all else gained closure. You will be free. Free to embrace your future and all your hopes and dreams with nothing holding you back. You would have done the right thing. You have said yes to your feelings. You have let go. You are free indeed.

None of this may make sense at first but the results are huge, if done intentionally, your heart literally feels light and you happier, and thoughts of the past and persons in question will no longer hurt, grate or embitter.

Finally, it is always good to go through the process with an experienced coach who can guide you each step of the way so you don’t find yourself back at the same spot where you began. A coach is someone you trust, someone that walks besides you and guides you without judging you. Allow yourself the freedom to drink in life in all its fullness. Release your hate and release yourself. Life awaits the free and authentic you.

Free

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING?

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!” ― Robert T. Kiyosaki

There are two groups of people in the world. We encounter them daily. Our concern however is not so much about who these people are than it is about which of the groups we belong in. The first group are those who supposedly boast about everything they are going to become in life, what they would achieve, and how they would turn out better than the expectations of people around them. People who supposedly do not wish them well in life.

While the other group of people are those who somewhat say the very same things but in fewer words and with different inferences and attitude. They are not outrightly gunning to shun anyone so to speak but are rather gunning to create something for themselves in the world. So here are two seemingly similar notions both seeking success but only one group actually makes it in life and you guessed right, the latter are those who actually become what they say they would become.

Why is that so? Weren’t both groups vocal enough about what they wanted? Isn’t that part of the rules of success, to always say what you want? Well, yes and no. I’ll get to the point in a minute. It is not so much what you talk about becoming but what you think of yourself every second of every day. What you are saying to yourself through what you are thinking. Thoughts seldom proceed from the words we say, it is our words that proceed from what we think.

The world we have created is a product of our thinking;
it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. – Albert Einstein

So you have this big dream and you wonder why you are still marking time after what seems like donkey years and you’re wondering why it seems some of your friends have checked off their dream list in the blink of an eye. As you go through your routine, you are wondering and thinking, “What is wrong, with me? Why do I always lag behind? Why do I always do the wrong things and choose the wrong career? Why aren’t I as lucky with jobs? Why does everything fall apart right in the middle of beginning? Why aren’t I as good at anything?”

You are genuinely worried about your life, which is good, but what you fail to realize is that you have said the very somethings to yourself for as long as forever. You may not realize it but you have always ‘thought’ yourself to be not-good-enough, not lucky with jobs, always giving up half way because something always goes wrong.

That has been your self-talk, your thoughts about your potential and that is why they do not correlate with your supposed affirmations. So that even though you have been going on and on about how you are going to conquer the world, deep down you believe that the best you can actually do is conquer your run down kitchen. No matter how optimistic you may sound on the outside, if you do not think optimistically about you in your mind, there is very little positivity you can experience in your life.

No matter where you go or what you do,

you live your entire life within the confines of your head. ~Terry Josephson

Imagine you are out with friends, old schoolmates, or say you are at an alumni dinner of some sort, and everyone is seated around the dinner table catching up on good times had at the university. Remember also, that there are two groups of people  present at this dinner.

Drumroll, conversations kickoff and everyone is chatting away about their lives. Someone makes a gesture about how her homegrown business, a crèche, is going to go global in a few years. As a matter of fact she has just acquired a piece of property which is currently being renovated and once that is done, she plans to move the business from her home into this haven and thereafter triple her revenue by becoming the prime creche in that neighborhood.

Guess what you say to your self, “How laudable. Triple her revenue. Go global. Why can’t people be realistic for heavens sakes. Why do they have to shoot themselves in the leg in the name of being ambitious. I can’t imagine running a business from home and then say in public that I am going global after only 1 year!” Well, guess what, there is no way you would go global even if you had the chance to build the same business for two years from your own living room! You have just shot yourself in the leg! We become what we believe.

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes,
rather than with their minds. ~Will Durant

The evening gradually comes to a close and everyone is made to talk about what their next steps are and where they hope to be when they gathered again in another 12 months. It got to your turn, and with your best smile you talk about this fantastic job you have and all, and how you hope you to begin a small business on the side soon. You go on to reiterate how you are not a believer of closing shop at the office to begin a business, so you’re going to do both side by side.

Everyone applauds you and someone chips in and suggests you consider taking a small loan and offers you a promising package at his bank. “Once you are ready to begin and you think you will like a loan, I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you from all our great offers…” You go, “Oh wow, great idea, ain’t I lucky to be here. Please give me your number…” He reaches for his pocket and pulls out his card, and as you tucked it into your purse, you say to your self “Loan in indeed. What if the business fails, who is going to pay back the loan when that happens…*sigh*”

Brian Tracy says, “You do not get what you say, you get what you expect”. Yet, every time you wonder why your dreams are epileptic. Have you tried asking yourself, “Why do I keep whispering these silly things to myself?” Meanwhile, at every chance you have been given, you have consistently drawn conclusions of failure in your head. You do not realize that it isn’t just about what you say you would do, or what you say you would become, it is about what you believe of your abilities and potentials. It is about what you are thinking, while you’re saying it and after you say it, that is what drives your life. You become what you think about.

You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think. ~Walter Anderson

You think you are not good enough. Each time your girlfriends come around with a new idea, you go, “Hmmm, so you mean this thing can work… Hmmm, seriously I don’t know…I’m not sure it’s for me…” “I’m are not the ambitious type,” that is what you say to console yourself each time you are offered a more lucrative and rewarding job.

You think you can never be better than average. So every time an opportunity comes for another promotion at the office, you join the office gossips to guess who it would be, you never try to ask yourself “Why not me?” You align yourself among the poor majority because every time you se something you would love to have, you are like “These rich people and their fancy toys, or you rich people and your lush lives”. So automatically, you have given yourself a position at the bottom of the ladder.

Never climbing or trying to climb, but always nagging everyone who comes around and dares to rise up the first few rungs. You warn them of the flight up the ladder, how they will suddenly lose their minds from trying, like you’ve given it a try yourself. Nothing is good enough for you. There has to be some danger and some misfortune. No one says life is free of hazards but should we all be locked in for the best parts of our lives because there is a storm out there?

Be less afraid to think the best thoughts about yourself. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything lovely and beautiful to gain. Like a blooming garden, plant one good thought after another in your mind about yourself and what you can become and watch with delight how your life unfolds. Like the flowers in spring.

I like to think of thoughts as living blossoms borne by the human tree. ~James Douglas

cherry-blossoms

Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere

“I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.”
― Paulo Coelho

I bet this is the all time conflict of womanhood. The eternal conflict between the woman, who she craves to be, and society with its agenda against what she would rather truly become. The millennia long fight between what is expected from a woman, especially if she would earn the title ‘good woman’. And I think the greatest battle would remain the conflict within the woman herself. The conflict that says, where do I fall, good or bad?

Women somehow always have a superior opinion to things, to life in general. We have a deeper sense of knowing, our intuition has the better part of us, our eyes burrow beyond the surface, our words provide wisdom, guidance and misdirection all at the same time. We are powerful beyond measure. Yet the moment we lose our power to do as we please, to choose the life we would rather live, to cage our desires and our longings, then perhaps, that would be the day we cease to be truly woman. We become simply, human beings, existing for the mere sakes of having breath.

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”
― Mae West

First women have been marginalized, then abused and sold into all kinds of slavery. Women become victims of themselves, victims of their sexuality, victims of their needs, victims of their prefrences. I’m not sure what Mae west meant when she wrote this line, but it gets me thinking of Mary and Rahab. Mary was a virgin when she was betrothed to Joseph while Rahab on the other hand, had been the King’s courtesan. One followed the master for the most part of her narrated history, the other quite superlatively, went everywhere from Jericho to exotic neighboring cities of her time. It gets me wondering, is a good girl immune to misdeeds and is a bad girl incapable of doing right? Where does one draw the line?

A woman will then choose to be who she decides to be while she lets society decide what she would be called and then choose whether to be intrigued or influenced. Many times, a young teenager is addressed with the sweetest names until she is found to be in possession of a love letter in her from some guy. On that fateful day she becomes the bad girl and her mother’s daughter. Of course, this was the case perhaps in my own days; I’m talking about over three decades now. Fast forward to the new millennium — with our fashion craze, and multimedia mania and the voracious monster called the internet — where do you begin to tag who is good or bad. Perhaps we will stretch the preferences to, not so bad, bad enough, partially good, okay, above average. What’s your take? I mean the difference isn’t so clear any longer. There are tons and tons of grey shades everywhere.

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”
― Madonna

When you are mediocre, you are cool, no offense taken. However, if you were a housewife, who stood her ground on all grounds, did what she pleased and went where she wanted, and had a partner who adored you, and supported your home grown business, trust me, you would become a snare to one too many. My point is, you don’t have to be a Madonna to be tagged, you only need to be driven, be ambitious, be committed to a cause, be single-minded and of course be a woman.

Many women struggle, not necessarily because they have been literally caged, but because they are afraid of being called names. They fear human opinion over the fear of extinction. They choose the imprisonment of their true desires over the fear of having lived a stale, tasteless and meaningless life. They would rather not have lived than to do so and then be given a name. What do they do? They choose the cliche and the stereotype over originality. Instead of paying the price, they skip the details of their lives and simply conform.

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it.

But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief,

that is a fate more terrible than dying.” ― Jeanne d’Arc

If being tagged means more to you than being who you would rather truly be, then perhaps you should decide what you would rather be known as and act accordingly. If heaven for you means living a quiet simple, not-asking-for-too-much kind of life, then by all means be a good girl. If you want to go everywhere, see the world, take your chances, leap off a cliff and fly, then according to Mae West, be prepared for the backlash – hear the scourging whoosh through the air! However, if you would rather be like me, who wants to go to heaven and without a doubt go everywhere as well, then welcome on board. Simply put, I would rather be happy than dignified. So what does that make me, good cop or bad cop?

Of course everything you have read is just my opinion and the opinion of a gazillion other women who have lived in different civilizations but suffered the same prejudices. So perhaps the purpose of this post, is so you can find out for yourself, your own meaning of womanhood and choose how you want to play your cards, make your own rules and however that turns out for you, be free. You only live once.

“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.”
― Margaret Sanger

It’s obvious isn’t it, that whenever the world has something to say about a woman, it is always about and invariably related to our sexuality. It is always about us being sexual beings and the more skilled you become at glossing over that reality and filling out your curves and numbing your power, the world would become a better and a safer place for all. Like I said, it’s only just my opinion…and that of a gazillion other women in medieval times….

Finally, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, be brave, be exciting, be imaginative, life is an adventure. You can never go wrong handling the reins of your life as such. You can be heaven bound, and be Dora the explorer at the same time. Be who you know how best to be, if there is any fire in your bones, if there is any emptiness, for as long as you’ve got breathe, you will find what you seek somewhere within or in-between. We always do. Live life to the fullest, trust your gut, follow your heart, and leave the brandishers to roast in their own furnace and the one without a fault, is free to cast the first stone.

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.

You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively;

unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Seeking good

GOOD GIRL GONE BAD

“I can’t decide whether I’m a good girl wrapped up in a bad girl, or if I’m a bad girl wrapped up in a good girl. And that’s how I know I’m a woman!”
― C. JoyBell C.

I picture the prime and proper girl, who’s never kissed a frog. Miss goodie-two-shoes. The girl we all openly claim to be. The undefiled virgin. Never before touched by a male, never before seen in the dark.

Then there is the loud, red-lipped hottie. The one with the voluptuous body, the one that every man wants, the one whose laughter is loudest in the room, the one whose glass is never empty. That is the girl we mostly will like to be. To be loud in our own right and to be bodacious with ourselves.

We are torn between the girl in the flood light and the girl in the dimly lit corner. We cannot say for sure if being the former will permit us enough opportunities to be completely true to our nature and our desires. We are certainly paranoid about the latter, if we went that way wouldn’t it mean that we have suddenly taken on an identity that is abominable, one that inevitably gives us a name with a thick red sign indicating danger.

A goody-two-shoes stings just as well, however, it is a sting that is safer to bear. We are miserable and frustrated, stuck between the girl we claim to be and the girl we dream to be. What do we stand to lose assuming we jumped ship? What will become of our reputation if we did? How would we survive if we didn’t?

We slumber in deep thought, we toss and turn. We weigh the scales and we consider the sacrifices. We contemplate the price to be paid, we swallow lump after lump, our throat sore with fear, and heart pumping blood with anxiety, our flesh perspire with apprehension, we are crippled by our jittery nerves.

Torn between two worlds, we live two lives, one in the open and the other in the closet. One in the  day light and the other in the dark. One with pride, and the other with shame. We are constantly swung between two realms, two existences, two grande stages. One in white stocking, the other in black pantyhose. One moment we are Mary at the feet of the master and the next we are Mary at the mercy of the mob.

 “There are no good girls gone wrong – just bad girls found out.”
― Mae West

Black Woman

UNAFRAID TO APOLOGIZE

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
― Charlotte Brontë

I’m sorry I do not know how to conform to your idea of woman. Do not bother to teach me for I am not in the least interested in becoming your mindless guinea pig of experimentation. You can sulk all you want and smack your head on the ground if you must. I am not in the least keen.

I will not become subject to your senseless ideology in an attempt to fit in. I will not force my tender being through a funnel of such cruel thinking only to emerge a massive lump like yourself. I will not handover my brain to your obtuse traditions nor give my mind in exchange for your poignant beliefs.

I’m sorry I have constantly failed your expectations of me, to become senile, doddering or condescending. I do not match-up to your qualifications for the properly metamorphosed female. Somehow I must have skipped a stage or two, to become unorthodox and the warped and bizarre one among you.

I do not apologize for leaving your precious carefully written script to be swept off by the river nor for forgetting  it time and again by the burner to smolder into ash. Your sacred pages and rules of engagement, oh how you painstakingly scribbled them for my own good, and for the good of all humanity, if only I would show some common sense and cease to destroy them.

I will yet debase them. And utterly annihilate them for I see it is a choice I must constantly make to keep my lovely head hanging high on my neck. Otherwise I would be surrendering my dear soul to imprisonment in the name of qualifying to become acceptable.

I will not subject my mind to puppetry neither would I surrender my wishes to the execution blade of general opinion. You can snarl all you want, sit around your smug counterparts, and grouch over my stubbornness and obscurity. Walk on broken glass if you must, to show your loyalty and devotion to lame titles or status of enslavement.

I will not be, yet another sacrificial lamb just so you can prove a point, one of helpless subjugation. I reject being that lamb and hobble blindly behind you to the slaughter, so I can become another zombie in your dignified gathering or simply another sad addition to the sorority of the haunted, maimed and despondent.

I like your outward disguise and admire your skillful art of masquerading, of pretty dresses and fancy jewelry, of false completeness and deserving the praises and approval of the majority. However, I despise the scars you unfortunately seldom succeed to hide beneath those fancy clothing and sunglasses.

I hear the weakness in your laughter and I see the wincing of your muscles, however so slightly, whenever you try to dance or fake laughter in the open. I sense the looming depth of sadness that hum violently in every given space of silence. It is inevitable, your bared vulnerability, as one can seldom wear a white garment and successfully conceal mud. It would be an eyesore.

I also know that joy cannot be faked, for it is not a garment to be worn but an aura that emanates from within. Thus, in spite of your presumed state of contentment and your glimmering appearance, I chose rather to be who I am and do what I want whenever I so please and at a time that I choose.

I choose my own happiness, I define my own completeness, I chose my path and I chose my seasons. This life after all is only lived once, albeit twice through the choices we make in the end. Hence my resolve, I choose what I choose when I choose it. Thus is my happiness complete, and my meaning settled.

I do not suppose you can see sense in my choices, I do not expect you to. To insist that you do would mean that I become like you. This is not a fight of superiority, neither is it the battle of the titans. It is simply what it is, that some of us do not and will not conform, we simply can’t. Live then, and let live. However so sorely, however piqued. Live, and let live.

I write for those women who do not speak,
for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified,
because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves.
We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
– Audre Lorde

Masquerade girl

LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE

How does a girl know if she is living her best life? Easy, check with your conscience. Check with your gut feeling. Check with your sweet spot. That place where, when you have done simply amazing stuff, you feel a tingly in the bottom of your stomach. A faint rumbling that whispers to you, “Wow, I am gorgeous. I was fab back there.”

Half the time we are day dreaming about how our tomorrow is going to be great, oooh we are going to be absolutely fabulous. Then when occasion calls for us to show up and be the best we can be, we sabotage our golden opportunity. By the way, every opportunity, and any opportunity at all that requires you bringing your energy to the scene to perform or to observe, is a golden opportunity.

Time is our greatest resource. Therefore, any occasion that demands your time is a golden opportunity. So, question, what have you been doing with your golden opportunities? I’m thinking  about mine in the corner of my mind and I must confess, not so good either.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “I’m not in the mood…” It is a second rate status that leaves us being second rate versions of ourselves. What does that statement mean anyway? Let’s take an instance: You happen to be at a gathering where the compere has just, unfortunately, cancelled on the celebrant. Your friend says to you, “Oh goodie, you are here! You can do this, it is your forte…” What do you say in response, “I’m not in the mood, because blablabla…”

You dampen the moment with excuses and sourness. Your friend gives you the break you need because you asked for it and someone else takes the spotlight. Then the inevitable happens. Your stomach sinks to the bottom of your belly. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have just let down your inner Mojo. You haven’t lived up to expectation!

That is probably the best definition of what it means to live your best life. Live, not to, but beyond expectation. Go the extra mile. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying live up to the expectations of people rather live up to the expectation of your highest potential.

Live your best life
Only you know deep down what your capabilities are, but most times we are crippled by fear and anxiety, and other people’s opinion. We let the fear of failure drown us in the sea of the unknown, the sea of uncertainties. Then we allow the many voices of other people’s opinion drive our inner voice to the background, crushed against a brick wall.

Each time we reject a golden opportunity, we shortchange our radiance in the world. We throw a blanket over our luminescence, and instead of shining, we are dingy. The more golden opportunities we giveaway, the less we believe we were created to shimmer and to gleam and the more we become comfortable with grim, drab and shabbiness.

Act your best life at all times. Give the best that only you is capable of giving and be that gift with gratitude and with graciousness. Fulfill your time here on earth by filling your cup at all times with the best wine pressed from the best grapes in your vineyard.

Make up your mind to be the first rate version of yourself everyday, make it a lifelong mantra and your life will always swing back with more strength and more zeal and drive than you’ve ever imagined possible.

Arrive at every event, every place, every moment with the intention to serve your best juice and you will be amazed how many of us have shown up with empty vessels waiting to be served and refreshed with your sensational offering.

Red wine

Fighting my battles

I find myself in a dark place. I’m taking slow baby steps with my two kids by my side and a crumbling marriage on my mind. I can’t see what is ahead and I cannot wait to make a fire. I do not know how to make one even if I tried. These are strange territories, there is thick darkness all around me, my heart is sinking beneath the weight of the past 6 years, and my mind is screaming all kinds of menace at me. I can barely think!

My body shudders for terror and my hands clench with fear, my kids moan with fright. They grab my hands, each on one side. I can feel their bodies tremble as well, even in this darkness I could feel how the tremor of the horror I felt, crept through my veins into their tiny hands. I drag my two kids closer to myself, I try to take quicker baby steps, but I must go slowly still. I’m feeling the grounds around me for pitfalls; I do not want to end up in some booby trap, not with my babies.

I know I have to make a fire, I need to, so I can see my way in this dark place but the screaming in my head will not stop. It would not let me think. I can hear all the voices of accusation from the last six years, they are growing louder and angrier. How did I get here? How did I find myself at this unfortunate bend? How is it possible, that I am here now, with two toddlers and a fractured marriage, walking blindly through a dark, dark, dark place?

Have I made the right decision to leave? Is this the right thing to do at this stage of my life? To be without a husband and a home? Should my kids be a part of this now at this point of their development? Should I have stayed for their sakes? Should I have bore it all; the verbal abuse, the mental degradation of my self-pride, my self-esteem and my beliefs? Should I have stayed to receive the constant battering of my mind, bore the loss of my self-dependence and self-containment? Should I have let him suck out the life from me so long as he didn’t lift a hand to physically overpower me? Should I have bore it all in silence?

Where does one draw the line between verbal abuse and physical battering? How does one determine the PH value for abuse? When does it cross from alkalinity to acidity? How long before verbal abuse morphs into physical battering? What are the parameters for determining how and when physical battering can lead to maiming or death? When do you take precaution? What is precaution? Is it the loss of faith and belief in the vows that you’ve hung unto for as long as you can remember? How does one condone abuse? Do you shot your ears from without or from within? Without I can hear him call me all these names; he has given me an identity that is tantamount to useless and worthless. Within I can hear the indictment, of self-abasement and self-accusation. So tell me, how do I shut out the accuser? Who is the accuser? Is it my self-absorbing husband or my guilt stricken self?

Daily I am becoming this monster, this monster that he has brandished me, this monster that I have remorsefully nurtured, like a werewolf, I have become this being, and I cannot recognize who I am becoming. My head is swelling with regret and anger and with confusion. My heart pounding with fear and with terror, and frustration, for I became a prisoner in my own home. I thought a woman’s home was meant to be her castle, her palace, her fortress. I thought it was meant to be her citadel, her stronghold, not her jailhouse.

Woman in the mirror
When I look in the mirror, I do so, not to examine the shadow I have become, but to find the girl I once was; that rich, zesty, and centered girl. She held her own and had this strong presence about her. Her voice rang out with gusto and with pride. Her strides, long and assertive with strong athletic feet that bounced with exuberance. Her vision sharp like that of an archer, her bow in one hand, arrows in the other, she had a dream, she had a plan. This marriage was meant to be part of that plan. I stare into this marred image, searching, hoping, weeping. Where has that girl gone? Is she asleep? Did she fall off a cliff and break a limb? Is she badly injured or is she on a journey? Will she be back? Will I still be here when she returns? If she returns, will she find a home or a wasteland? Will she recognize this body to be encapsulated by it? Will she recognize this battered mind to embody it?

After much pondering, I chose liberty above detention. When it came to it, I had to choose my humanity above being a werewolf. I chose my sanity above mental torture and deficiency. I chose this temporal darkness and I reject the artificial lighting of my glorified prison. Permit me to say that I chose life above death; death of who I am — really and truly — my worth, my beliefs, my dreams, my values. I chose my invaluable self. Hence my new creed and statement of belief; I choose my true authentic self even though now, I am only a shadow of that girl.  I choose my strong, beautiful, and ambitious self, even though now, all that is left are shards and pieces of what she used to be. I chose my strength, my resolve, my dreams and my pursuit of happiness, even though there is barely a trace of such left.

My heart is wrenching in two places as I walk away from the one whom my soul loves. I can barely contain this feeling, for it is gruesome as well as liberating. I feel pain and I feel joy. How is this even possible? Why does following my dreams have to be so grisly? How can love suddenly transmute to abhorrence? My heart is wrenching, and I feel bloody lumps of flesh fall off and splatter around me as I walk away with a broken heart. Which brings me to the question; am I walking away from love? Am I walking away from what could have been? Or am I walking away from abuse; am I walking away to find safety? Am I walking away for dear life?

One minute I was contemplating jumping off the balcony of my home, the next minute I am scrambling with my kids in one hand and in the other, a dozen fragments of what was meant to be my luggage. I am desperate for life. So I chose to leave through the front gate and not the balcony. I chose a flight to safety by plane, not a leap off the terrace with despondency. After much running, I find myself here, in this dark but safe place. It maybe dark now, but soon, would light up with brightness, and with sunshine from within, like the rising of a phoenix. I know I will find myself again. It may take a while, but look out for me like you would the rising dawn. It is not too long from now.

I do not know where the road ahead is going to bend, but first, I must fight my battles and overcome my demons. I must overpower each of these growling voices within; monsters fighting for my soul, I am certain they will not win. I will yet rise. First I must heal, I must believe again, I must hope again. I must awaken the girl within, I must find my strength. I must choose my life again. I must love my self yet again. I must nurture my dreams again. I must get back on the race. I must run to win. I was born to win.

I don’t know how to fill this hole in my heart but with each step I take towards the light, I remind myself that this walk is not going to last forever. Nothing is cast in stone. Everything is but clay in my hands. I smile. I’m hopeful. I can now see the light ahead. It is like a tiny dot on a thick black blanket. Like a sparkle at the end of a tunnel. If I can hold that image long enough, I know it would emerge anytime now and the light will flood my being again…

…but first, I must fight my battles…

Tell me when, the time we had slipped away,
Tomorrow turned to yesterday,
And I don’t know how…
Tell me what can stop this river of tears,
It’s been building up for years,
For this moment now…

Tell me how the road ahead is going to bend,
And how to harness up the wind,
And how to say goodbye?
Tell me how to fill this space you left behind,
And how to laugh instead of cry,
And how to say good bye?
– Michael W. Smith

“For Vanessa and all the women who suffer abuse in silence. XOXO”

Keeping strong