Petals Among Thorns

Let me begin by saying: being sick sucks! Anyone who’s been sick knows how uncomfortable and inconvenient it is. I don’t think there’s a single person who simply enjoys being unwell.

That said, I’m stuck in the house AGAIN, for the third day. What started as an annoying sore throat turned into tonsils and a flu. It got worse and I bought some drugs which worked until they suddenly didn’t. I figured since it was a public holiday, some sleep and plenty of concoctions would be everything I needed. So I slept and drank hot water with everything; lemon, ginger, honey and fenugreek.

Then the second day came and I was still sick. Fatigue and sleep came in plenty. I thought I’d rest a little then get working. Well, IBS had a big surprise prepared. I’m guessing all the concoctions plus the infection triggered the IBS.

Oh boy, I don’t even know where to start with this one! IBS is one of those things you don’t wish even on your worst enemy. Picture a life where every time you eat something, your tummy reacts. Bloating and countless trips to the loo. Muscle cramps and random chest pains where you can’t tell if it’s a heart attack or just your tummy acting up. Then my favourite is the depression.

Sigh, how our brains connect with our intestines, is one of those things I marvel at and equally frown at. Imagine having anxiety and depression just because your tummy issues flared up. And then experience the opposite where anytime you are anxious or stressed, your tummy reacts instantly.

I must say, depression has to be the worst part in all this because you can’t predict when it hits. Granted, now I comprehend things much more, so I handle it better. But even with that, it still sucks.

When it’s mild, you can go about life as usual, only that you feel like you’re carrying this heavy load that keeps slowing you down. When it hits hard; you’re crippled. There’s little or nothing you can do at that time. Your world stops but your brain goes on overdrive. Suddenly every little failure and anything that’s not working is highlighted. You feel like a wreck; like you’ll never really do anything right. You cry over the normal life you’ll never have as you remain overwhelmed by all other issues.

Thankfully, that doesn’t last forever. You hit rock bottom pretty good then you come back to life. But that cycle can easily break you; it chips at you deeper and deeper each time.

Nevertheless, I must also say that I’m grateful. Walking around with a body that often misbehaves has taught me plenty of grace. You have more compassion on others and on yourself. I have learnt to be kinder to myself and to choose peace always.

Learnt that it’s okay to have days where you seemingly do nothing; rest is essential. That it’s okay to go at my own pace and not compare current me with the me I’ve always known or with other people. That life is different now and it’s okay to take things slow when I’m not well. I have also gotten to know the importance of support systems and relaxing techniques.

Yes, I wish life was different. Yes I still believe God heals and have experienced that personally. Yes I’ve prayed countless times and had crazy faith. Yes I’ve cried enough times asking God why on earth He thought I’d be able to handle this. Complained enough about Him not taking this away yet He has the power.

But I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m loved insanely and that God doesn’t always calm the storm but calms His child in the storm. Because ultimately, storms not only leave us much stronger but there are beautiful lessons we’d never learn if life was all nice and smooth.

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Wondering Wanderer

You know things are pretty bad when not even YouTube helps. Yes, I’m at work trying to gather every ounce of motivation I can muster just to get something done. I started with actual work but just the one that’s nowhere near urgent and will not be required anytime soon; all the urgent ones are busy staring at me. Then I figured replying to an email I received from a friend over 3 months ago would help. Well, it felt great writing to him again but that still hasn’t gotten me back to work.

Super colourful cute desktop wallpapers have to do, right? Sigh, that hit a dead end faster than I could finish hitting the refresh button. I guess I’ll be sticking with my current baby:

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I began flipping through playlists that normally have me all excited and ready to take on the world… that also failed miserably. I knew writing would be good for me so I posted on my Facebook page; something pointless with a touch of humour. Well that worked for about 5 minutes and I was right back to square one.

The funny thing is that my state today kinda relates with the state my life has been in lately. I honestly can’t tell you where I am precisely because even I don’t know. I’ve been wading through so many unfamiliar things, mistakes, setbacks and unexpected personal growth that I no longer comprehend anything.

Have you ever wondered who on earth the person you are staring at is? You look at yourself and cannot recognize the person you currently are. Yeah, that’s where I’m at currently. If someone told a younger me that the 27 year-old me would be where I am; I would never believe it.

The mistakes I have made are countless! The detours I have encountered are innumerable but the growth has also been tremendous. So yes I am still not settled, no financial stability, no guy and my career has become quite the adventure in that I have been in a very different place each year.

Would I trade it? No, not at all. A “normal” life would have bored me to death. I guess God really knew the sense of adventure He placed in me and figured I’d appreciate all the curves my life has taken and will probably keep taking. After discovering that I am a Multipotentialite  or what Barbara Sher calls a Scanner, I finally made peace with the fact that I will never really be settled in one place because my numerous interests and abilities have to be utilised.

Emotionally, let’s just say I am yet to ace things but I truly like the woman I am now. I have learnt: how to refuse to take crap from people, how to enforce boundaries (oh I am still growing in this), how to say no without feeling guilty (okay, maybe just less guilty), how to like someone and not be bothered to do something about it, how to recognise that rejection simply means I am not the right person, for only THAT specific task or person not that there’s something wrong with me, how to love people but within healthy boundaries and only to give my all to the people who can handle it and most of all, how to not make apologies for who I am.

So yes I remain flawed and yes I feel like a wanderer most days but I guess that’s what makes life life. I may never figure it all out but I may as well enjoy the roller-coaster ride.

Her In Hindsight

Let me begin by saying how I’m truly proud of the person I am currently. You wouldn’t understand what big a deal this is unless you knew the lady I used to be. 

I cannot pin an exact point when it happened but all I know is that I slowly became someone I didn’t like too much. The peak of it all was last year when I finally came face to face with her, and boy did I hate her! Hate seems too mild a description… I loathed the woman I used to see. 

I don’t know who or what robbed me of the joy I used to have. I grew up a very happy-go-lucky kinda girl. Somewhere along the way I realised the world didn’t like me as much as I loved it and that slowly killed me. I didn’t know what to do with dislike for no particular reason and rejection. So I took it all in and it broke me. 

I always assumed that I took more of my mum’s introverted nature the more I grew up. I picked that as the perfect scapegoat. The depression that started coming in from my third year in campus sealed the deal. I’d do a lot more of my retreats and I’d avoid even friends I loved dearly. Locking myself up in the room became a habit. Solitude and I began our relationship. 

Along the way, the health issues became worse. Looking back, I now understand how issues with my digestive system triggered the depression that would recur. Up till now, a day without my body acting up is as rare as those blood moons. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by everything. My life became paralyzed and I slowly started losing hope of ever having a normal productive life.

Oh and I have to mention my emotional drama! The number of times people broke my heart because of what they said, did or failed to do… goodness, I even lost count. I tend to give people all of myself as I keep believing the best of them. Of course they’d shatter my beliefs and leave me feeling disappointed. I love hard but I’ve met people who didn’t get why I would not mind going out of my way for them. I’d easily do it even for strangers because, oh well, my heart just likes doing stuff like that.

The highlight last year was my contempt for my body. I was at the highest digits I’ve ever seen on a weighing scale and I hated it. Hated how I looked, hated everything about my body. Like most of us, I assumed losing weight would be the magical cure. Now imagine my frustration when the health issues ensured that wasn’t happening (Lol, you’ve got to love life’s sense of humour).

I also remember feeling very unworthy of love. I was convinced that the type of man I wanted would never want me. It didn’t help that during that period, I ended up crushing on a friend who of course had no mutual feelings. Looking back, I am so glad he didn’t like me! I know it sounds confusing but I now really know what I’m after and things definitely wouldn’t have worked.

That being said, I love that person I was because she led me to who I am currently. To the me that prioritizes happiness. This lady that oozes joy much more than ever. To this girl who now knows how to pick better. The one who understands that perceived rejection should not be allowed to hurt her. This one who is beginning to truly believe that she’s beautiful. 

The lady that gets out of bed each day even when she doesn’t think she’d last a few minutes before crumbling. The one who keeps moving in spite of pain. She who chooses to love even when people don’t seem deserving because He who is in her models unconditional love. She who now sees when it’s her expectations placed on people that hurt her and not the people themselves. 

She lives, loves and laughs.

Morgue Chronicles

I was at the Morgue today; 5 minutes ago to be precise. Today’s trip was different though. I wasn’t going to the cafeteria to buy food neither was I there looking for a nice spot to go pray. All I’d wanted was a nice solitary bench where I could sit alone in silence. Well not exactly in silence because my earphones was busy pumping music into my eardrums and I wasn’t alone since God was right there the entire time.

I found a bench right behind a Bus parked and close enough to the river. I must admit, the whole time I was there I kept fearing the bench would topple over and I’d end up in that river that looked more like a flowing sewage (yup, cleaning up this river in the Capital City doesn’t seem like a priority for our government). I was relieved that the bus hid me properly, I needed that privacy when the tears returned.

I sat there desperately looking for distraction but social media offered all but the social bit today. So I was forced to deal with whatever brought me there.

I looked around and it dawned on me that those people at the Lobby or hanging around cars as they waited for the bodies of their loved ones to be released, would be us people pretty soon. Suddenly their pain resonated with my pain. Yes we all experience grief in varying degrees but there it dawned on me that pain in whatever form should not be belittled. Someone else’s pain might be greater than yours; understandably so, but don’t let that keep you from mourning.

In no time the tears followed. It’s been hard holding them back today. Of course I have enough questions but I leave those ones for his family to ask; God already has enough of those coming from them and I will not disturb him with more.

There were birds around I suspect, I am sure I heard them at one point or the other when they weren’t muffled by the sounds of cars passing by and the flowing sewage… I mean river, below. I did not hear mourners at the Morgue wailing; no silence reigned today. Not because they weren’t in pain, but today, their pain was borne silently within but it shouted at those of us outside. Their silent pain was too loud to ignore.

In this morgue a variety of people meet- those doing their work hired inside, those taking care of the security outside, those running their cafeteria business, those who came looking for what the cafeteria offered; but the lot that stands out the most: those who have come to begin their final goodbye.

The one thing you won’t fail to pick from here, is how fleeting life is. Life is fragile and has no guarantees.

There were 3 sick people that were the cause of my anxiety yesterday; one is no more today.

Death

I woke up thinking about death today. Yeah, you heard that right. My spirit felt heavy and I had such despair and resignation. No, I absolutely have no plans of facilitating the ending of my life. As I lay there in bed trying to force myself to get up and go to work, all these thoughts flooded my mind at once and hopelessness sipped in as rain does through cracked walls. It wasn’t that I was tired of living, I simply had resigned to whatever comes whether a long or short life.

This definitely wouldn’t be a conversation I’d have months or even weeks ago. I love life to bits! I love everything about this imperfect life: the people, the created things and nature. I have carried a certain fear for too many years; fear that life on earth would end before I accomplish the things I’m meant to. The idea of facing God aware of the tremendous potential He placed in me as He lavished me with excess abilities and ideas, yet having done very little or nothing at all; would make me shudder. My greatest fear was being the girl who had such great potential but never got to live it out. The other fear was to leave never having selflessly loved and given my all while allowing myself to receive the same. Then maybe not having the little girl that I’d want to have would be a real bummer. Needless to say, death freaked me out.

A few weeks ago, God had me doing plenty of thinking on this. I was to write a post on it and begin with explaining all the things I’d never get to carry out of this world. I’d been getting a different perspective on life. Being reminded of how the things we’re focused on chasing are temporary.  We don’t get to carry our money out of this place, our cars, phones and social media accounts don’t go, businesses or jobs are left behind and even the marriages we’re too caught up in (either managing the one you have or the one you want), expire as life here does. They all end here. You only get to have you (your spirit and soul), people, rewards for things you’ve done according to God’s plans and your relationship with God.

Back to today morning; I had such peace about the whole thing. God’s gotten me to the point where I no longer fear death because He made it clear that whatever you fear, you become a slave to and it robs you of life. So as I had all those thoughts and talked to God about it, I was okay. I still don’t like the idea of dying young but what’s there to fear when you realise that you’re simply slipping from one life to the next as you reunite with the Lover of your soul, the One who longs for you, the One who made you and the One who can’t wait to introduce you to your real home. As for love, it occurred to me that I have been lavishly loved! As for people, I have loved imperfectly and been loved imperfectly but it’s been beautiful. The friends, family, kids and young people I’ve talked or interacted with have loved me in ways I can’t explain but have learnt to appreciate even more.

Don’t let fear of death rule you; as long as you fear it, it controls you. This crazy myth we keep perpetrating about people only talking about death when they’re about to die, has to end. I have seen how the more you think about death or talk about it, the more you get to live. It changes how you see life, the people around you and your priorities. Maybe we need to have more conversations on this.

Lots of love from me to you!

When it doesn’t make sense

Do you have moments where your life feels like it has no meaning? When all the things you’ve failed at overwhelm you? When it feels like there’s no point to try because all efforts seem futile? And during this whole time God is quiet or feels like He packed and left.

You’re broken and there is absolutely no ray of hope. You wonder for how long you’ll be trapped in this cycle. It looks as if every time things appeared to get better, they still turned out the same. You probably conclude that this is how life will remain and that God is punishing you for something or gave up on you a long time ago.

I’ve been there… too many times!

Then I discovered that getting out of such a situation needs you to start speaking to yourself. Not like a crazy person having weird monologues but speaking to your soul and declaring truths that at that moment, you may not even believe.

Let me take you to Isaiah 43:1-5a… God says that He knows you personally because He formed you; He took His precious time to put you together. He has called you by name and you belong to Him. He promises that when you go through times that threaten to bring you completely down or overwhelm you, He’ll be right there with you to bring you through. Notice that He didn’t say you wouldn’t go through such times but He promises that even at those very moments, He’s there with you.

He declares that He gives people for your life and even nations. Imagine how special you’d have to be for you to be told that. Your life is extremely valuable to Him. Then I’m awed by how He starts that by saying how it’s because you are precious and honoured in His sight plus how loved you are.

So your life definitely matters and no detail escapes God! The same God who controls details that you’ve never considered: marking when the deer gives birth, providing food for ravens when their young ones cry out to God and hunting for the lions to satisfy their appetite (Job 38 and 39) If He can hear wild animals and even go hunting food for them, how much more do you think He takes care of your affairs!!

Psalm 139 explains how God understands the nitty gritties of your life. His thoughts toward you are too many to number; He thinks about you excessively! Yes, He’s figured out this entire life for you and had written every single day of your life before you were born. Nothing catches Him by surprise; nothing you do disappoints Him because He already knew it would happen but still chose to let that be part of your life story. He promises that every thing works for your good (Romans 8:28) and He doesn’t lie so if it’s in the bible then He’s definitely going to perform it.

No matter how you feel and how absent God seems; He is there with you and your life is definitely worth living out. He’s handling it all so just tell Him to help you see Him in all this as His peace and love surround you.

Reflections on a Chilly Monday

This is one of those days where the writing bug decides to creep in slowly and bite really hard. Must be the chilly weather, the serene environment, the calming music and my being in bed enjoying the warm bedding.

Lately, I’ve been on a reflective mood and I desperately needed some alone time to think and do some writing. The past two weeks or so have been crazy but wonderful. I wouldn’t even know where to start in describing all that’s been happening but all I can say is that it started with being admitted to hospital and has ended with a seriously fired up lady who keeps surprising me daily.

It’s amazing what happens when you let God take the reins and stick at His feet daily. He will break you, mould you, rebuke, direct and take you levels you never saw. Surrender is beautiful; you give yourself up and He gives you an improved version of yourself that you’d never attain.