“When in Doubt, dont.” Benjamin Franklin

Today for a minute or two l doubted myself and l must admit it was not a lovely feeling.

So l found myself in the train with an old classmate. Just as you would expect, the prospect of catching up on each others lives since we last saw each other, in our 6th semester that is, had been an exciting one for me, but boy or boy five minutes into it, l was in a solemn state and putting up a happy act as my mind raced a thousand directions.

All it took was one simple question for the wind to leave beneath my wings. But why are you still here? they had asked. Why are you still here, everybody is gone, everybody is working now and they have their lives.

l reached for straws and mumbled some explanation . They didn’t sound convinced and as desperate as l was to be understood l went on and on trying to paint myself in a positive light, which only made me sound more ridiculous of course and it didn’t cut it. So we moved onto other things. An inquiry thereafter into an incomplete project of mine hardly did any good too. We survived the rest of the hour by turning our attention to some sociopolitical issues, but the arrow had hit.

I walked out of that train feeling like crap, and had to give myself some major prep talk before the colleagues arrived. Luckily for me, work came to the rescue . By lunch time l had recollected my emotions a bit and  thrown a casual question at my boss about the foolish path l chose for my life and career. He of course gave me the are you crazy look and patiently explained how people go down different paths in life.

l have since recovered a bit, but today l have learnt how doubt can utterly put you off-course. As sensitive as l am, chances are if l had withstood this little encounter on my way back home l would have spent the whole of this week brooding and adrift. l am still feeling a bit skeptical but l am learning to accept such hard reality slap moments, and remember that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

And with this in mind, l will hold onto Benjamin Franklin’s words untill the light shines,

When in doubt, don’t!

 

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Its not a sprint, but rather a marathon

“it’s not a sprint , but rather a marathon.”

Said a friend to me this morning, and the minute he said it, l knew l had to record these words, repeat them over and  over again, until they were embedded in my very soul.

It was a much needed reminder for each and every one of us as we go along this life. How cool would life be for all of us, if we kept this in mind. Many at times we are kept awake at night, troubled about our lagging progress, worried about how our counterparts seem to be progressing steadily in this race called life, but alas, remember it’s a marathon.

We all have different strengths, different abilities, different lanes and more often different start times. Hence it is important to keep our eyes on the finish line and neither look left nor right, for life is an individual race.

Comparison is a thief of joy! Never make the mistake of comparing yourself, for we are all not the same. We are all destined for different things and the sooner you realize that the better life will be for you.

As for me, l will continue to strive to be

  • patient, gentle and kind to myself
  • not compare myself
  • & be the best person l can be

Time will set you free.

 

Time will always eventually run out!

When you have been patient enough, but waited in vain.

When you had hoped, but unfortunately in vain.

When you have tried, but to no avail.

All the sleepless nights.

All the shattered dreams.

The troubled mind.

The misery of it all.

At last the time is up.

I can be content knowing, l tried, l fought, l waited, l was patient.

Time can finally set me free.

Cries of a Daughter 

My dear African family, just because l am in the diaspora does not mean my life is the yellow of an egg, in fact if l knew what l know now, l would have chosen to pursue my life goals in Bulawayo, a place called home, surrounded by family and friends.
Stop judging my life through the lens of my profile picture, it is but just a picture, taken from the best angle possible with the best lighting possible brushed off with the best filter possible to give the best illusion possible. Did l mention the makeup? Or how about the fake smile or pout l quickly erase as soon as the camera is out of focus.
Lets talk about finance. Just because l currently live in an economically sound country does not necessarily mean that my finances are in order. As a matter of fact l have to work twice as hard to have half of what my peers have. So stop sending the money requests because quite frankly between my bills and l, l have none.
Dear family, when was the last time you genuinely inquired on my being? I can now sing our telephone conversation like a bad jingle, because they are always the same, always. The usual how am l question which l can hardly finish answering before you have fired your next questions. The when am l finally finishing Uni question, or the most loved am l now working alternative. And last but not least, the when are you coming home question which is usually followed up by your amazingly expensive wish list. For starters l do not work at the Santa factory, and if l ever do get employed in the North pole rest assured l will hand deliver your wish list to Santa personally, how about that?
How about a genuine how am l question for once? How about a simple conversation for once with you indulging me in the details of your new finger licking recipe, sharing details on that new dance sending the youngsters on a frenzy, why don´t you tell me about that plan of yours? About that upcoming trip of yours?
Where is the love?
Where is the care?
Where is the Compassion?
Nonetheless, when it’s all said and done, we are still family, l will always love you dearly and put your first.

Emotional Bullies

Somebody stole my joy recently.

And if it were not for my great friends l would still be wallowing down that dark tunnel that person left me in.

I felt so robbed,so betrayed. How could somebody you trust and whom you have opened your doors to, take that trust and use it against you.

I let them into my home out of the goodness of my heart, but they took that as a stepping stone to quench their selfish wants. 

There is nothing as painful as being emotionally bullied. When somebody purposely invades your space knowing very well you can do nothing about it. Knowing very well they have the upper hand. The audacity of it all. Am appalled. It makes me sick to the core.

I am still angry, very angry. But then l am grateful l only have to deal with the anger now. Before l reached out for help l was a scared mess. I felt threatened and l coiled into my shell a vulnerable mess. Flashbacks took me back to a few years back when l had to deal with someone like this. For almost three years l dated somebody emotionally abusive, and to this day l carry the scars.

That person who told me am nothing without them. That person who told me they were all l had. That person who told me l can do nothing on my own. That person who preached how lazy l was and even nicknamed me a sloth. That person who even went to the point of calling my family monkeys. A person who knows me would be shocked to learn that l even believed this of myself back then, after it had been sung and imbedded deep into my soul on a daily basis. But guess what he was wrong. I am none of those things.

And guess what, new devil. No more. You can not take my joy anymore. I refuse to go down this road again. You will not abuse my trust ever again. That window has closed.

Stand up to emotional abusers. They must know the world is not their playing field.

Stand up!!!

Life at 27

At 27

I don’t feel entitled 

But l refuse to settle 

It’s either the highway or no way

If l be left empty-handed 

So be it!

Recently l have written about five posts and deleted them without even publishing them. But then today l decided to be true to this blog. The initial reason for “the girl from Bulawayo” was to pen my heart out. So why then am l holding back now that only dark ink is oozing. I refuse to run my blog like my social media painting life with filters and fake smiles.

Anyway back to the topic at hand. Life at 27 is brutal. Its one of those crucial stages basically shaping what direction your life will take. Personally am feeling the pressure from all angles. Having pitched up late to the university race, l only started my Masters recently. Something l don’t regret though. I believe the mature me was better equipped for my university life than the younger me, and all those moments that leveled me to zero, would surely have carried me to the grave yard.

My career ambitions are not the only boulder pushing in at 27, but the expectations my family has of me. At 27 back home in Zimbabwe you are married with a kid or two, and with a life expectancy of 62 for women, at this stage you have almost lived half of your life. So basically technically all the conversations with my family start with,”When are you coming home?”, followed by “When are you getting married?”. And thereafter a long lecture on how am not getting any younger blah blah blah. Family please l know the clock is ticking, and no one is better qualified to remind me of my own ovaries than me myself and l. That’s why am really avoiding most of them now by the way. If only they read my blog, maybe the would give me a break.

And while we are still here can we talk about the dating game at 27. Another extremely brutal playing field. A friend of mine explained it beautiful for me, he said its like walking blindfolded in a field of landmines. Better still you are relentlessly pursued by the ones that don’t matter and the ones you care for are aloof and basically the worst as***. Toying with your emotions and not even realizing it.

Life at 27, means am basically a b*** especially when it comes to friendships. Am done with everything and anything that has drama attached to it. It means my circle is limited to five people, and l really can not handle more. Good friendships are about giving and taking and l do not have the capacity to give and take beyond this.

Life at 27 means weekends spent in bed, sipping on my tea reading or watching my favorite series. Or partying three nights in a row.

Life at 27 means me living healthy and indulging in all things healthy. Little 10 minute workouts, cooking healthy, drinking enough water and motivational exercises are all part of my routine. I am more aware of how quickly those fast food burgers head to my waist. My cereal diet days are now a thing of the past.

Life at 27 means knowing me and the things that make me happy. And believe me its all in the little things. Life at 27 means me knowing not to compare or gauge myself according to my peers, because each one of us has their own path.

Life at 27 also means dealing with and sorting all of these emotions. Hence the dark days tend to be frequent . Days where l just refuse to get out of bed and battle feelings of being overwhelmed. 

But as long as l am fighting on, taking every day as it comes. The road will finally smoothen out, it wont stay on this sharp edge forever.

I refuse to settle 27.

Seasons

Today was one of those days where my alarm rang  and I turned it off while  pulling the blankets over my head.

” I cant do this..” l mumbled as l forced myself again to sleep. This is my latest technique to try and escape  the harsh reality of my world. Seeing l stay alone, l can stay in this state for as long as l wish and nothing nor anyone will shake me out of it. There´s no noises coming from the rest of the house as the family scurries about getting ready for the day, nor a roommate to irritate me as they go about their Morning rituals. Now that l think of it, it is definitely an unhealthy con that comes with living alone. Sometimes that human chaos forces us to put on a strong front and face the day. And once the wind hits your face, it’s not as bad, you pick yourself up and go on with the day, though gloomy and less productive you keep on moving.

Seeing l have no one to fake it to,when my blue days do come around l hit rock bottom. Like today, my curtains remained closed all day long and all day long l lay in an appalling morbid state trying to sleep. Way after mid-day l was still in bed, still with no energy to face life.

At this point, I sat up in bed and started going through my To-do list. Well l had missed a full day, but l decided to forgive myself and accept am not superwoman. Its ok not to be perfect. Realising l had an appointment with my friends in a few hours, I turned on to some retail therapy and got myself two super reads on amazon and l was halfway there. A nice long hot shower would do the rest. Need l say more, around five o’clock l walked out of the house,  face beat,head held high and life continued. Before leaving the house, l snapped that picture from my window, and something about it stuck on my mind.

Seasons.

Not long ago l had looked out of that very same window and it was summer, and weird enough l never had such gloomy days in summer. Even on my most blue days, l would throw something skimpy on, hop on my bicycle and ride my blues away. I guess this my latest theatric has come about with the current season, and just like the current season it is not here to stay.

My life is like the seasons, not always warm and perfect but in a constant flux. Surprisingly enough, l love it in all its spins and continuously evolving patterns.

Ctrl alt del

Just the other day i shocked myself. Yet again.
At times i fail to recognise this girl in the mirror. Her aggresive strength and demenour scares me. At times i look in the mirror and ask, “who the hell are you?”

Anyway, on that evening l lay in bed, watching my current series Vikings. Earlier on i had sat at my desk for hours catching up on work. The house was still messy with my unpacked luggage. Calmly l enjoyed my me time. I am one of those people who enjoy their own company. So yea, there l lay indulging while scribbling tomorrows schedule. And then i got up to go to the bathroom, and on my way i caught a glimpse of a happy me in the mirror, and l was like wait a minute.

So l retraced my steps and stood infront of the mirror studying myself. I had just come back from a physically, mentally  and emotionally  draining situation. Not to mention the life changing decision that had just went down.

So yeah, there l stood in disbelief.
How was it possible, that my face had no trace of pain, emotion, exhaustion or even empathy. Again i asked myself, who the hell are you? Was i not supposed to be on my friends laps, sharing the gossip, crying my eyes sore, reaching for chocolate, making much ado about nothing. Oh well i guess thats what normal people do, not me. At that moment, it dawned on me, i finally realized what made this girl infront of me so scary.

I was living the first few days of the “ctrl alt del” mode aftermath. My life was on a fresh page- yet again.

See, i have this ability to shut down ,wipe off any unpleasantatries entirely from my life. Just like people who undergo traumatic events and shut that episode out of their lives. Its sad really  because the truth of the matter is i do not forget, l simply convince myself i have. Once a friend and l were reminiscing our hey days episodes, and to this day am struck by how deep i have mastered the art of delete mode. Like i literally sat there listening to her like someone being told a story for the first time, only occasionally thinking, but why does that sound so familiar.

Anyway, this Ctrl alt del button in my brain scares me, really bad.
See my brain may think its clever, but my heart has never been formatted. All this baggage is there somewhere inside, and if it ever explodes…so help me God.

I know how dangerous a bomb this is, because on that day , as i stood infront of the mirror, i tried to reach down for the emotion, pleading with my heart to let go. Telling it its ok to be human, you dont have to be perfect. Streching my hand like one saving another from falling off a cliff. Pleading with my heart to take my hand and let go.

For a second there was hope. I felt my cheecks burn from the fire within. My heart went still and l trembled at da momentum of the Emotion that was about to erupt. Just at that moment she took over- the girl in the mirror. I met her stare, a fierce non shaken warrior like look, queitly challenging me. At that moment i knew l had lost this war again, i would have to try another time to salvage my can of worms from the dungeons of my heart.

Well,
Starting afresh is ok sometimes. Like with that math exam i flunked in first semester. Like with that cake recipe i saw on youtube. But yet again, “ctrl alt del” is just a temporary coping technique for my driven self. I have a dream, and l refuse to be a coward,

one day, l will fish out my can of worms from the very depths of my heart and pen them out with the title, ” the Girl from Bulawayo”. And boy oh boy what an emotional rollercoster it will be.

Life as a 3 rd decade friend.

Paying bills is not the only struggle that comes with your mid twenties. One of the culprits that relentlessly haunt you is friendships. Currently i am facing what i like to call, “life as a 3 rd decade friend dilemma”. Have l lost you? Let me explain.

You see in our first decade of existence we make our childhood friends, mostly with kids from the block, from the pre school and from primary school.

In our second decade, these are quickly replaced or moved to lower ranks by the high school friends. Many at times, when teenage hood kicks in, we find ourselves too cool, and even wonder how we were friends with those 1st decade friends. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to retain the high school bestie and the bestie from primary but only because one was the weekend friend and the other the school week friend.

The coin flipped very quickly though during my A levels and both were replaced by my squad from the elite school. This squad still exists, though we are in 3 different continents, technology has allowed us to keep in touch. Funny enough the topic of the day is always on how we are all struggling in our new friendships, and never quite able to cement the perfect balance we have. Nevertheless back to the topic at hand.

The twenties offer a turning point in life. You approach adulthood either from the direction of a career, marriage or university one. All of which come with their own disctint friendship hurdles. The techicalities even increase, if  like me you find yourself migrating to a foreign land.

Funny enough the hard reality never crossed my mind as i sat in that Aupair prep class. See i found myself seated on da wild side table, with the party lovers. I did fit it in though, seeing i am born and raised in a slaughter-house. Not for cows ofcourse. See i grew up staying with my brother. While our mother slaved her back in Southafrica to support us, we turned her habitual abode to a paridise for young couples, escaping the strict scrutiny of their parents. Am bubbling again.

Fast forward to Germany.
The first year was not as harsh regarding my friendships. See one of the girls from my prep was in the same city as me, and l was still in touch with most of the girls from the prep group. These still remain among the solid few friends l can count on, even if we go for months without talking.

The next year though, my first year at Uni was to begin unraveling the friendship can of worms. Equipped with my backpack and high dreams in one hand, l was determined to avoid friendship drama, l would have one and one friend only. Turned out to be the best recipe for doom as 2 semesters later i found myself roaming campus as the lone wolf, not even able to squeeze myself among the other classmates, seeing my ex bestie was now one of the pack, and i could not stand her. Childish really, but those were some of the most anguishing years of my life. The situation was just draining.

At that moment 3rd decade friendships was about to give me another hot slap. I threw in the towel on the Uni thing and resorted to spend the rest of my days as the friendly lone wolf. I graduated last month pretty much with the same title.

When the perfect Uni plan broke down, my next option was to focus on my social circle outside of Uni. I had met many strong beautiful intelligent interesting  young ladies, and somehow l found myself drawn more to my current circle of friends. How? Fate i guess. But it was in this circle that l would learn the true meaning of starting to make friends anew in your third decade of existence.

See when in a foreign land, any prior common factors make up for a great chemistry between friends. Having been unplucked from our comfort zone, anything, anything at all offering even a straw of familiarity is highly welcome.

If you went to the same school, lived in the same neighborhood, have a common relative etc, it is a great recipe to make friends abroad. Even if back home you never spoke to each other, reminiscing about the old loud lady from your hood creates magic when in a foreign land. I had none of the above. Just what I needed in dealing with my 3 rd decade friendship dynamics.

Being the last to join the squad didn’t help my cause either. See you find yourself in the same boat with people who have known each other for years. The torture of the hidden jokes known to them only, particular words which send them to spasms of laughter , the code words, you name it. My one friend whom i had shared these bonds with, had chose to go back to Africa, wrong choice again, so here i was starting to search to belong , to support and be supported back, to love and be loved back and to share all over again.

See there is an order of importance of friends in each and every one of us. Sometimes the order just exists in our subconsious and we are not even aware of it. Every one has their personal person, and moreso in groups,though you are part of the circle, you have to know your place in the hierarchy.

The hierarchy is very easy to figure out, see for example if something is being planned for someone, the first personal person is always ablaze with passion, putting in 100% in all arrangements. It’s very easy to observe how they simply fade to the background when it’s someone else’s name on the Agenda. There are numerous examples am sure you can think of some yourself.

So basically, life as a 3 rd decade friend, means you are mostly left out in most of the jokes.
Means you will run around more before someone decides to look out for you.
Means you must always know your place, you are only that good untill the personal person appears.
Means your 200% effort will hardly be noticed, but the personal persons 5% will be showered with praise for days.
Means you can never assign the title best friend so easily as you once did in primary school. It might even mean you cancel this word out of your vocabulary.

That is the harsh reality of life and friendships in our 3 rd decade of existence.