Life; Live it-Love it!

I once watched an episode of Grey’s anatomy in which a patient was diagnosed with lung cancer.
She was  against the idea of surgery because she was scared of death.
That was not all, however,she had spent her entire life trying to do right, follow the rules, be good. She had never smoked nor sipped an alcoholic beverage and yet here she was, battling lung cancer.

The possibility of death made her realise she needed to ‘live more.’ She began to eat a lot of junk, drink herself silly and slept with a stranger, among other things, to make up for the years she ‘lost.’

Whereas I have lived a life I am mostly happy with, I could relate with this feeling. *Never mind that she was a fictional character, blonde and what not*

Just this weekend I wished I was an alcoholic or at least a social drinker. I needed a ‘quick fix’ to the disappointment and pain that lurked within my heart. Perhaps a few drinks would give me the ‘forced joy’ I badly needed. However, when you have a conscience as loud as mine, you think about these things, maybe even say them out loud, then you take a bath and go to bed.

“Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?” 

You do know what I mean, right? Sometimes you think; ‘There’s gotta be more to life.’ Of course each action has its repercussions but hey, if it is for the right reasons, I guess it is worth a try.

I have been thinking a lot about all the things I have always wanted to do whether simply for fun,adventure or outright curiosity. I can start to consciously ‘chase’ each of those in my power. Why? Because no one else will do it for me.

“…No– but ours is a journey into ourselves, a walk with God every day! Ours is a book that we write, a smile, a love, a tear, a lust, an awakening, a learning, a joy, a laughter, a memory, a dream, a vision, a love, a love, a love and a love. Our life is now. And Heaven is always there, but this life isn’t always there, but this life isn’t always here. Heaven is always there for us but this life is a gift to us!

When I quit my job three months ago, I completely had no plan. I mentally gave myself till December to decide what I wanted to do with my life. It was a bold and perhaps stupid move, but it was my decision.

I have always believed in making my own mistakes. For example, I would rather get a job on my own where I am paid peanuts, rather than have a hook up by a brother to my friend’s dad. In the event that I mess up, or excel for that matter, the boss should be able to blame/praise me not whoever was the middle man.

It was this conviction that made it easy for me to respond adequately when ‘concerned parties’ asked “What next, How can you quit without a plan?” and other related queries. Those who understood, however, knew that for me to walk away from something, I must have good reason.

I digress.

All these months later, I have managed to somehow survive. I am pretty sure if I put my mind to it, I can last several more months.

My point? If you have an option, do not stay in an unhappy relationship, sad work place or failing business. Work towards a plan to walk out, to survive after you move on, to be happy with your choice, and ensure the life you are living is yours; not so  your spouse, boss or family can be happy but so you can be happy.

Everyday really is an opportunity to start over.

“Existing is going through the motions of life with no zeal and feeling you have no control; living means embracing all that this large world has to offer and not being afraid to take chances. The beauty of living is knowing you can always start over and there’s always a chance for something better.”

I have a list of those things I want to do, some have timelines others don’t. In case yours is somewhere at the back of the mind, try and write/type it out.  Tell a close friend or two. Once you are done, begin to organise it; what can be done now, what should wait, which one needs savings, company etc. It helps.

I will use an example from my life. This year I did not make resolutions, just a few goals and promises to myself.

Not all of them became reality but some did plus I have one month to tray and fulfill the rest.

I love to travel, I have several dream destinations. I ‘live them’ through photographs, movies or my friends who have been there. Maybe I will visit them one day, maybe I won’t but in the mean time, why not tour my very own Uganda?

It is as easy as navigating google, having a few conversations or even reading travel pieces/guides.

This year I have taken a few mini holidays on a tight budget. Even after everyone said Gulu was such an expensive town, I found my unemployed self managing to stay over for several days and not being imprisoned for failing to pay for drinks and a meal.

There have been weekend getaways with friends to Jinja and Entebbe, oh plus Bule island off Ggaba. Small and affordable but they brought me so much joy.

I know people who earn three times what I used to earn that are envious when I share tales of these escapades. This is simply because they have not tried.

Some individuals and companies have made it their business to make travelling a whole lot more convenient and accessible in and around Uganda. See Sabili and Roundbob. These are just the ones I know.

Don’t be afraid to ask or indulge 🙂

“What’s the good of being alive if you don’t do anything?”

In semi-related news,I am skeptical about receiving ‘gifts’ in  form of grand gestures, heck I even raise my brows at small ones, especially if they are directly ‘for me.’ Although I am comfortable when it doesn’t benefit me. Once I see it coming, I sometimes think, ‘What is this person’s motive?’ ‘ How will I repay them?’ It is wrong but you know, I can’t help it.

The irony is that I am often in people’s business, trying to know how and when to help/jump in or whatever it is called. Yes, it is a flaw that I am aware of.

So, in a bid to practice what I preach, I am going to try and be more welcoming of these displays of affection, whether small or otherwise and just..you know, ‘go with the flow.’

“You could continue to repress and think about the life you could have had or you can take what you want from life and see that the world finds that person infinitely more irresistible…

If it is a new expensive phone(that you can afford) which will make you more cheery and keep you busy, walk to that shop and buy it without remorse, If the girl you have had a crush on for years is in a failing relationship, go ahead and tell her how you feel. She might never leave the douche, and you may not get a chance but what good is keeping this info bottled up when you are not certain about tomorrow?

“I don’t want to be that kind of person…so afraid of making a wave that I never swim at all.”

 This reminds me, must swim too! 😉

ocean

I have always been terrible with taking risks, in a way, I still am.. However, this year has taught me to follow my heart even when I know it will get bruised..but then again, to also have the wisdom to withstand a small cut on myself instead of inflicting a full-bloody wound on someone else.

The trouble with life is not that it ends too soon, it is that we take so long to begin it.

Oh and before I go, I urge you to use your skill, it might not be direct like a beautiful singing voice or magic with the paint brush. Maybe your laughter is infectious so you need to continue lightening up the mood of those around you. Perhaps you are great at bargaining and can use this to be a shopping buddy to those that need it or better still become a personal shopper for them..Maybe you make great business decisions and yet tonnes of people around you have money saved up without proper direction..<Insert relevant skill/talent> The list is endless and you know what? The time is now!

“Every year I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence that will risk nothing, and which shirking pain, misses happiness as well. No one ever yet was the poorer in the long run for having once in a lifetime ‘let out all the length of the reins.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life-Precious (Part 1)

At exactly this time last week I was doing what seemed like fighting for my life. It is for this reason that I have since put myself on pressure to get busy and be completely occupied at all hours for fear that still moments shall create an avenue for an episode..

How?

I had been feeling ill on and off for weeks but I simply took medication and carried on like everything was normal while my system silently crashed. It eventually gave in.

The Irony

On October 29th I received a Vocational service award from Rotaract for work done with 40-40.

Needless to say, I was surprised and excited before, during and after. I knew that this would do a lot for the team’s morale and also serve as a reminder that we are on the right track. I hope it did because on my part, I am still amazed.

Anyone who saw me that day realised I was as bubbly as always but perhaps a little more laid back because this experience humbled me even more.

Coincidentally, three years ago on that exact date, I was hospitalised and missed my graduation. This time, I was receiving an award. Weird,right?

I told a friend later that night something within me did not feel right. I later felt selfish for ‘whining’ when I should have been celebrating. After a silent prayer, I ‘forced’ sleep. I was to wake up at 4 a.m with the mother of all stomach pains. This was the beginning of a week long series of not-so-exciting-events.

The worst bit about experiencing pain over and over again is that sometimes you begin to think you deserve it and that it is ‘normal.’ This dim thinking is what got me to spend the day at home ignoring the fact that I was weak, nauseated and generally far from fine; this and the fact that my parents were unavailable and I had no ‘safe’ means to leave home.

When mum called later that afternoon, I told her I was ‘a bit sick’ but would await her return.

She got home and we drove to the hospital. Hardly had we arrived when I was drenched in drips and medication. I did not sleep that night.

Let’s get back to Thursday. I did not want my friends to know. In fact, I am still getting angry messages and calls from those that got the news after the ‘drama’ was over. It is difficult to explain, but once you have lived a certain life, you stop alarming people each time you have an ache. In many cases, they are fighting a different battle and you just want to let it be. Sometimes though, you want them to keep the image of ‘smiley you’ in their memory while you take care of the fight on the other side.

The friends who made it to hospital that afternoon did not head back to their offices.Two even left but found me in a bad state then decided to camp with me a little longer. I know that my condition scared them and if I could rewrite the script, I would have them sit in  a beautiful room as I battled with the devil alongside medical personnel who see such hurting often.

On the other hand though, I am glad they held the mantle as mum rested because she was to experience many other troubled nights that week on my account. Their presence made it all easier.

The Wonder

Through all my pain and anguish, these guys sat and prayed for and with me, sacrificed time and threw in a few anecdotes that just kept me going.

At some point I broke down not only because of the pain within but also as a result of stupid self pity, self loathe and several other emotions that I can’t quite expound in writing. It was not a new experience. In that moment though, I felt I had had enough.

I eventually calmed down.

Throughout my stay at the hospital I got no less than 20 drips and about 15 injections. I did not eat for 4 days and had to get supplements through the drips. When I would see the doctors cringe, I would think ‘Please smile so I can get some reassurance,’ but their reactions were simply natural. It is this stuff that moulds you munange. One day I will be a rock inside, oba diamond? 😉

Light moments

I had to search for sleep amidst sounds of Radio and Weasel, Mafiki zolo and Konshens at nearby bars between Thursday and Saturday. I often laughed at myself.

On Friday night, I actually heard a lady scream ‘woooooo’ when ‘her’ jam played. That could very easily have been me on any given day. I often scream or sing along when songs I love play. Instead, I was trying to stay in one position so that the drip would not move. It was a sad kind of funny.

Other dramatic events gave us hosptal peeps good laughs, from random guest’s conversation, ‘made up’ tales to mum’s laughter. I got me some good memories in there 😉

Each night I prayed to sleep, then prayed to wake up. My prayer was answered every time.

Now

I got discharged on Sunday morning. I had been told I would leave from Friday but each time, I got worse and had to stay. This time, together with my friend Zindzi, we began to pack the ‘migugu’ and take it to her car even before we were told. We forced LOUD laughter each time the doctor came in so he would see how FINE I was.

Eventually, it worked 😀

As soon as I got into the car, the lyrics ‘Though I ain’t good <Lord> HE still loves me’ welcomed me. I sang happily. Mum joked about me seeing the outside for the first time. I was genuinely glad to be out of that room.

Just before we got home R.Kelly’s ‘storm is over’ was on radio. How timely! How perfect! “I can see the sunshine; somewhere beyond the clouds….heaven is over me….” As in!!! Sound tracks to my life.

So here I am, running around to ensure the Charity bazaar is a success..but every moment I get, I sit and thank the Lord. He saved me and I shall use all the energy I have and don’t have to praise and glorify his name.

I have to thank my amazing friends who stayed with me and those that kept ‘the secret’ so I would not worry others; those that insisted on visiting anyways, the ones that called and sent messages even if I had mini phone fasts so I could recover, my family, the staff of AAR that constantly popped in and withstood the thousands of questions from my friends and I when the drips had honestly become TOO much. I am eternally grateful and can only ‘revenge’ with prayer.

I encountered a few other testimonies while I was in hospital but I shall save them for a part two.

Here is a short story within a story though. I like to send ‘Happy new month’ messages but this time 1st November found me indisposed. The funny bit is some people sent texts to ask why I hadn’t wished them a good month, and others happily ‘beat’ me to it. I didn’t let most of them in on ‘the reason’ but it was funny.

I can’t end this without some mushy clichés even if I know the lessons have been evident from reading it already.

However, I just need anyone reading to actually believe ‘Life is short’ because it is, however subjective this said length is. In essence, a 90 year old loved one is still mourned after his/her departure. That said, may we always remember to show those we love that we do and take care of them and ourselves. Goodbyes don’t quite come with a timeline but when you are ‘threatened’ with one, you begin to realise how precious this ‘unfair’ thing called life is.

 heaven

Each second is a new lease on our existence.  Mehn-let’s make it count!!

See you on Saturday at The 40-40 Charity bazaar and family day, I will be the girl looking like nothing ever happened because star ta fa! 😉

xoxo

 

To love, hold and lose..

Growing up means many things, maturity, responsibility and several wrong decisions plus lessons that you may or may not take from all the experiences you encounter.

Your elders will warn you about what to expect and recount their stories as many times as they can but none of it saves you from the reality and  neither does it prepare you. Once in a while you shall echo their thoughts and mirror their reactions but the more likely option is that you will fall flat before you ever have the chance to sit and think “I made the wrong decision.” Either way, you have to do it your way to realise.

It is great to put your heart on the line, to give till it hurts and leave no room for remorse but the repercussions can take away all the joy of trying and bring you to a point where you wish you hadn’t bothered in the first place.

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.” ― Charles Bukowski

Loss comes in many forms from distance to denial and the ultimate, death. Come to think of it, why do they all begin with ‘d?’ I digress.

I believe to lose something or someone who you shall never see again is perhaps easier than the tormenting loss of a friend, former lover, member of the family who is so near yet so far.

It could even be a job you gave up everything for and had to leave under unclear circumstances or a place you called home suddenly transforming into a prison that you cannot bear.

Denise dated James for 5 years. She knew very well that her parents did not approve of their union but somewhere in her heart she knew she would fight for him and win. Little did she know that his own family was orchestrating a ‘master plan’ of their own behind her back. Before either of them could comprehend the situation, James was betrothed to Liz. A few weeks later, a traditional wedding was organised.

Denise was devastated and James, well, he was helpless. He tried to explain that it was beyond him but she was too broken to even listen. “He should have tried harder,” she thought.  As such, there is one more unhappy couple in this city and a mad black woman on the loose who is not only incapable of commitment at the moment but also lacks the passion and excitement for life that she once had.

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.”
― Paulo Coelho

Lately, I have been trying to deal with a special kind of loss myself. The kind where you can almost see, feel, touch and smell that which has been taken away from you but you can’t.  This loss is almost inexplicable to an untrained mind and perhaps beyond consolation even by those near and dear.

“Each of us has his own rhythm of suffering.”
― Roland Barthes

It is one thing to hear that ‘Everything will be okay.” but actually believing it can seem like mystic universe yet to be discovered by the world. The sad reality is that when people notice you are grieving, their immediate reaction is to reach out to you and yet sometimes the questions, advice and comforting phrases take you back to the same place you are trying to run away from, the picture you are trying to erase…the shadow that you can’t avoid.

You want to sit still, alone, shut yourself from the world, except you can’t. The world won’t stop for your pain. Music will play on and new lives shall emerge. You have to make a choice to suck it up or get sucked in. Sometimes it is both, other days the distinction is clear.

Loneliness makes it worse yet being around people is just a ‘more crowded’  kind of lonely. You feign laughter and exchange hugs, share an old joke or a meal but the reality whispers “You can’t pretend forever.” and indeed after a few odd hours of beautiful lies, you are coiled in your bed, with only your mind and heart each racing and prancing about in your system, oscillating between whispers and shouts  of voices,images you can’t exactly make out and pain that you don’t question.

Yes, your body has caught on too. If its blood is boiling, the mind pacing and the heart unstable, surely you don’t expect it to function ‘normally.’

You know that dawn is a few hours away and that you can’t really bother anyone at such a time, but even if you could, what will you say? They want to believe you are healing. You want them to believe you are healing but since none of that is happening, perhaps it is better to share your feelings with your pillow for it can neither judge nor respond.

Finally the morning comes and you promise yourself a new journey, a happier ending. You even believe it for a bit but secretly you know that you shall disappoint yourself once more. You can’t utter such negative thoughts! “Be positive, you tell yourself.” The cycle continues….

Here I am contemplating the beauty of ignorance from that which we have never experienced versus the bliss of enlightenment that comes and changes your life but is later stolen  away in the dead of the night.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

―  John Steinbeck

It is one thing to give your utmost love, care and devotion to a person,job,project and the like but an entirely different thing for it to be reciprocated in the same measure or even anywhere close.

Loss does things to people, it transforms them. You might be lucky and come out stronger but deep within lies that hole that only you can see and feel.

Some people do not recover, they can’t see the world in the same way anymore. They remain numb with the hope that they shall relive the last moment when they could have held on to a love so dear but sadly, the clock never really turns back, only memories remain.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

Who knows how it will all end or which people you shall meet that will get into that broken heart and try to make it whole?

You don’t. The future has an unwritten story but first, you need to open up the book of your soul to the first page so the story can be written or rewritten.

“So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that’s stolen from us–that’s snatched right out of our hands–even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.” ― Haruki Murakami

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xoxo