Ode to The Butterfly

“Sometimes the snow comes down in June (sing in American weather), sometimes the sun goes ’round the moon…”

Be still little worm. You don’t know it yet but your time to fly will come. You won’t always be overlooked, less-than-favourite squirmy worm, unable to protect itself. One day you’ll be a beautiful butterfly.

You should know though that before that happens, you’ll be in this hard thing, hidden from the world. Things will happen and go by without you knowing or being a part of them. You’ll miss a lot and honestly, you may not be missed and you might hate it considering how it’s going to feel like going from bad to worse, it probably won’t be great. But it’ll be necessary. You see once that whole process is complete, you’ll crack out of that hard shell and have beautiful, unique wings and then finally you’ll fly. But first, squirmy worm and hard, dark shell until it’s time. YOUR time.

Because seasons are exactly that, another bad time will come, but it won’t be the same. This one will make you better prepared for it. A simple line for Hillsong’s Desert Song puts it will well: “I know I’m filled to be empty again. The seed I received I will sow.”

This post is an ode to matriculants whose plans are about to change for the worst tomorrow, my beautiful cousin who’s finally winning just shy of her 30s after a whole lifetime of blows. Me, minutes after another blow after receiving beautiful promises from God. I’m not singing praises in the midst of it yet, but at least I know that I should be. Baby steps. Late bloomer things.

We have to believe that sometimes the best is saved for last, we have to believe in the butterfly that’s becoming. Even if it’s just for survival. Baby steps, we’ll get to living one day.

Treason

You make me feel shame. You make me feel dirty. You make me feel useless and heavy. Dead weight. I learned a while ago that if I wanted to take the power back from something that made me feel robbed by it, I should talk about it, especially if it brings with it feelings of shame. Oh but you! When I talk about you, it comes across as giving you more power and attention, as though I’m seeking some of that attention for myself… You’re another kind of devil. You make me feel small but heavy, too heavy for people’s shoulders, too heavy for myself to carry. A burden. An expensive burden. You’re the expensive one but you make it look like it’s me! I’m actually quite low maintenance. Unless, your expensive ass made me want shrink myself into ‘actually low maintenance’ since your expensive ass living in an non-low maintenance me would make me an even bigger burden, ungrateful. Such audacity!

You’re the reason I’m no longer unable to do the most basic things, expected things, necessary things. I means if I can’t do breathing; what more everything else? You make the most mundane tasks heavy, like you, like me. You’re so confusing. No… Toxic. You’ve gotten me so used to pain being a part of my every breath, literally that I can’t even tell when it gets worse. The world tells me that that makes me strong. That because of you, I am strong. But also, in efforts to act on that strength and I talk about you or let the evidence of you seep through, the world also tells me that I’m weak. Or maybe I’m projecting. But even so, you also make me feel weak in every sense of the word.

You’re the attention seeker, not me! You’re the one that’s got all these requirements and unwritten rules, you’re the one that reacts immediately when you’re provoked even slightly. But you’re bloody coward so you use me as a vessel for your whining. I’m not a whiner! You want to be seen so bad you went and made friends in MY body, started a revolution against me in MY body. How dare you?! Is it not enough that I literally talk you down? Out loud? Now you want to be part of a domino set, a whole gang. Ganging up against me in MY OWN body. Like I said, bloody coward!

In case you can’t tell from this piece, I hate you. I really really do and I don’t care that you hear me… Until Friday. My friend is getting married this weekend, it’s about her; not us, you and me. So I’m going to need you to cooperate. On Thursday, I’ll care that you heard this because I’m going to need to talk you down again. Argh! The melodrama! You get loud when no one that can get your ass is near and hide when they are and the bloody coward you are, you refuse to finish what you keep starting. It’s the torture that keeps you alive isn’t it? … Oh the things you make me feel. Angry. Sick. All. The. Damn. Time.

Burned Out

When I was child, I was what many adults called intelligent for my age. I was interested, inquisitive, hiiiighly opinionated, I was interesting, born leader. You should know that I am cringing as I type, you’ll soon understand why. You see, I was born into a family of leaders and so non of us were expected to be less and without trying, I was definitely one of my people. I never asked for permission to be great, even in areas I wasn’t great in I appeared to be great. Although I may have been a little overbearing, I wasn’t arrogant about it, it was normal to me so I didn’t think I was in any way better than anyone of extraordinary.

In grade one, I saw my beautiful head girl at school and decided that in six years, I would be her. Five years later, I was one of the first grade sixes to be made prefect, that same year in my leadership interview I said with no doubt and fear that I would bring back the Christian fellowship group at school if I was elected. Later that year, I was elected my school’s first Chairperson, I was both head girl and head boy and I took my job very seriously. This was around the time I realized that who I was was offensive to people, my family explained it to me. So because I liked being liked, I had rejection issues so I needed to be liked. So when I went to high school I decided to keep a low profile, I decided that I was done being in the spotlight, I was going to make people comfortable around me, I wasn’t going to give anyone reason to dislike me. That didn’t work out as I hoped because my silence was interpreted as good behavior and I was elected the Class Representative every year of my high school career. Started the school choir with some friends in my second year. Again, part of the first group of grade 11s elected as prefects and was elected Deputy Head girl the next year. First year of varsity, same story.

As much as who I was kept coming through, the light was diminishing slowly each year I tried to shove it under the table and eventually, it died. I killed it. This was the new pattern of my life. Unseen, unheard, no impact and I knew I finally got what I wanted. But now it was working against me, when it mattered most. I remembered this as I was looking at the cracks on my cellphone screen. So I’m a little (a lot) clumsy and as a result, my previous phone needed screen protector replacements at least every month. But you see my current phone was a gift from a very special person to me so I take really good care of it. If I drop it, I immediately check for cracks and to my surprise, I haven’t caused any damage. So because of this people pleasing thing and not wanting to seem a certain way, I calmly hand it over for other people to use for pictures and whatever else. Recently, one of my friends pointed a crack out to me. My heart sank. Not really because there was a crack on the screen protector, but because the culprit didn’t have the decency to tell me. In following weeks I noticed more cracks with no explanation. Remember, I check it everytime I drop it. Do I still hand it over with no observation?…

My point is, you lose so much in the name of making others comfortable at the expense of what is precious to you. You are the one that is left way beyond uncomfortable after the fact. I handed over an expensive item, both in monetary and sentimental value in the name of not wanting to seem a certain type of way; it started with me handing over my very special gift, I dumbed down, diminished my light to make others comfortable. Don’t do that. That isn’t humility, it is actually another form of pride, making yourself that which you are not. It is disrespectful to yourself, God- the Giver of the gift, the people who should have benefitted from your gift, the people that should have learned something from your “No.” or reproach.

Respect your gift. Respect the givers of your gift. Respect yourself.

Nervous Endings

A line from Before The Dawn by Tori Kelly: I thought I saw you wave, but you must have been drowning. It hit its mark. It’s like this post, is it just a blog post or a cry for help? You see, I can never comfortably say it’s the latter. Not because I’m proud, but because I really don’t see how you can help. We’re told to speak, but what am I supposed to say? That I honestly just want to fall into a deep sleep? Because I do, I want to finally relax all my muscles. Why don’t I? Because as much as I low-key want to fall into another kind of deep sleep, I’m also afraid that I might. I’m afraid that if I allow all my muscles to relax, my lungs may relax a little too much. They sometimes do and I have to fight to remind them to breath by the time they wake up, my heart is tired.

So I’m sure you figured that I’m referring to asthma and some cardiac situation, that’s just two of a few. Why not manage it? Firstly, I’ve been on meds all my life, I’m tired. Secondly, all asthma meds are steroids and they wreck havoc on my weight and mental health, mess with my heart and vise versa, so I constantly need to choose. This is why I don’t talk, there are people with lethal conditions and they don’t wanna sleep. How dare I?! But you see, I still just want to sleep.

I learned that because of the oxygen deprivation on the brain in severely asthmatic people, the brain becomes depressed, as is the case with most chronic illness patients. You would think knowing that knowing this reduce the guilt, it doesn’t.

Here’s how my life is set up; extreme excitement results in an asthma attack. Extreme sadness results in an asthma attack. The day after extreme happiness results in a depression spiral, the day after extreme sadness results in a depression spiral. The smallest thing turns into the biggest mountain, cue anxiety and she can’t move, in any way. I’m afraid to have babies because postpartum on top everything else. Not much of a life at all, especially now that I have nothing to distract or hide behind. So I push you away.

I Can’t sing or dance my way through it because you know, heart and lungs. So I don’t even listen to music because then I start yearning for the two things I can’t get, making everything worse. So really, how can you help me? So then, no, this isn’t a cry for help. I’m just getting it out there I guess, it helped a little, so there’s that.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting


Disappointment. Almost always. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with this because you reach your goals by expecting to reach them, this is also how faith works. But I’m still on my way there, in the meantime, I’m here, survival mode. Ironically, the last time I mastered living with no expectations from people and life, I was happier, I lived more. I loved freely (actually giving my love for free), gave freely and the lack of any expectations of reciprocity allowed me to stay in the joy of giving a lot longer than I would have after realizing that I got nothing or “not as good” in return.

So I’m trying to get back to this now, with the deterioration of my memory, it should work even better now. I’m hopeful, not expectant. It makes everything sweeter now with no worry of tomorrow or the sweetness fading to bitterness. I found this way of living peaceful and joyful. It makes you the better person instead of expecting other people to be your idea of better. Expecting things from people makes you see them as the villain when those expectations aren’t met, it’s them that hurt you when you are the one that hurt yourself. It makes this, here and now beautiful instead of the idea that it will only be beautiful after something happens.

When we let go of our ideals, we’re able to be more appreciative of everything. In Corinne Bailey Rae’s words, we light a fire where we are. Anything beyond what is now becomes a beautiful and welcomed surprise because we are content with what is now. It’s not settling, it’s contentment.

This is not for the planners with expectations. This is for the peace seekers. Walk slow in your lane, smelling the roses until you’re strong, secure and steady enough to run with the planners with expectations crowd. When you can handle disappointment without hating yourself for allowing yourself do more than hope, expect and projecting that on those I’ll-feelings towards people that really have no business handling your happiness. That’s your job. Keep yourself alive.

Dried Roses

I come from a long line of flora obsessors, unlike me. I have however learned to love flowers recently but not nearly as much as the other women in my family. My mom and aunt take it a step further, if they can help it, they don’t let the flowers go, when roses start dying they dry and keep them. They honestly make for pretty nice decor.

A friend of mine just sent me a text asking if she can be a thorn in my flesh, my response was “what’s one more thorn?” to which she retorted “so you’re all thorny. A beautiful thorny rose.” ;”a dried up thorny rose”, I responded as I looked at the two dried bouquets in the living room I was sitting in. On one of the blog posts I wrote for our company blog site http://www.qualitygrowthinternational.com, I had a picture of the above bouquet upon receipt on my last hospital visit and a picture of how much they had opened about a week or so later. If I remember correctly, that post was about the import role a source of life played in our development. The morning I took the picture of the opened roses I called the Beau who bought them in tears, after having compared the two pictures I realized how their development resembled me. Now I’m not calling him my source of life or anything like that or as Ms. India. Arie sings in Complicated Melody “he ain’t the reason for the sun and the moon, he is just the reason for this here tune…” I told him how they had blossomed in water even though they were beautiful and demure upon their arrival, wide open, they displayed a new type of beauty. I told him how his love and attention to my needs and efforts to make me happy were turning me into another type of beautiful, one different from the closed off and demure version of myself. We call the journey to the happy, affectionate and open me The Journey To Joystified.

Anyway, this is not about my love story. This is about that text conversation. The truth is, until very recently, I had thorns in my flesh in the context which Paul uses the term and I had subconsciously disconnected myself from the True Vine, The Living Water and turned into a dried rose. That’s what I meant in the text. What this friend of mine wanted to say that she thought would be a thorn in my flesh was a reminder of the Word I shared on Sunday (that Faith, Hope and Love message I told yal I had to prepare), throwing my words back at me, having an idea of where my life is, she asked me to learn to trust and hear God, to move when He says and stay still otherwise, to not go and get myself and Ishmael but wait for my Isaac. This was the battle I was fighting in my head when she said that. Faith, hope and love are the life source to a rose that’s not just on earth but in the world. I need yal to pray for me please.

Something for you to remember as the week unfolds, the same way we have dried roses working well in our living room, God used this dried rose to do His work on Sunday. It ain’t over until He says it’s over. Until then, the human struggle of wanting to get and Ishmael and waiting for an Isaac continues.

Yey us!

P. S I just tuned to TBN to find T. D Jakes teaching on faith according to Genesis 17…Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Sarah and God.

You can’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! 😂

Female Matter

Red Shoes against femicide was an idea inspired by Mexican artist, Elina Chauvet, in 2016 where red shoes where left to symbolize women whose lives were cut short as a result of femicide in Stockholm. South Africa has 16 days of activism against violence on women and children every December where this conversation is had all over the media. Not so long ago the country was up in arms over the increasing number of women and children falling victim to rape, violence and murder… Today I just read about a 19 year old who was raped and murdered in broad daylight at a post office and a 6 year old who was kidnapped, her brother was pushed aside so the perpetrators could get to her.

I just ended that paragraph with a loud sigh because How much more? How many more? How long?! Why is it that a woman’s life is so fickle and meaningless that all it is good for sexual pleasure and after that satisfaction (whether it’s the contentment of undressing her with your eyes, grabbing her, saying obscene things to her just because you can or reaching an orgasm) and then you can kill that little weak sucker- even though she’s the one who just had life sucked out of her. Every month she loses a little life, because of that, she is able to bare children, losing some more of herself and yet those very beings that come from a woman are more than okay with violating her to the point of death. Of any kind!

I know so many women who have been verbally and emotionally abused, losing so much of themselves in the process after having already poured out so much of themselves into an excuse of a human being. Before we have a debate that isn’t even a matter in this matter, yes, men get abused too, I know. No human being deserves that, period. Right now though, I’m talking about the creatures that give life yet are also weaker than their counter parts and are attacked from the inside out by the people meant to protect them. By the people that are meant to protect them! What hope do we have?!

When I was a child I dreaded being sent to the shops because there was always a group of boys there ready to terrorize me every single time! I was the youngest at home so there was no getting out of being sent, so I had my guard up. That’s what you can thank for my RBF, I was always ready to be extra mean and rude to whatever shadow that seemed to tower over me and spoke in a voice deeper than mine, so my voice trained itself to adopt a deeper register too. One time, a deep voice from a towering shadow greeted me and without looking I told it which short pier to take a long walk on with all the evil I could summon… It was a cousin I hadn’t seen in years. Not much has changed since then unfortunately and with good reason. I grew up to being crammed in a train with old men rubbing themselves against my ass, another old man telling me just how he wants to kiss between my thighs. All on the way to class. On my way back, another man told me how he wanted to squeeze my ass and boobs. This particular man told me this every afternoon, regardless of what I wore. I ended up using a different mode of transport home, not that that didn’t come with its own brand of foul mouths and eyes. Heck I get it in church!

Before pubity hits, young women have a hard time with their bodies. We stuff our shirts with socks because we want to fast forward to the fuller bust. Women that don’t look like the ones on pornograhic images when they get older are made to feel less womanly by men who have nothing to do with a woman’s body and we let them. Some of grow up to have a little more of everything than some and become anxious every time we need to pick an outfit or leave the house because a stranger will grab you and devour you with his eyes and verbalize their animalistic lack of self control and sometimes you’re going to have to go back that way. And for some girls and women, a stranger will hunt you like his prey, torture you, take you anyway he wants and end you just because he can.

And we will have these rants again until it happens again.

Whatever gender you are, if you have a man in your life, please teach him that women are more than just matter, teach him that we matter. Teach him that we can say No and it’s not an attack on them. Teach them that we don’t need to show us that they’re physically stronger than us, we already know. That they don’t need to make us feel uncomfortable for them to feel like men. Teach him that it’s unfair to make me feel like I need to hide because what he wants to say to me. It’s my body! Teach him that he can help himself! He’s not an animal. Teach him that we deserve to live and feel safe. Teach him that if he absolutely needs to do something to feel like a man, that something is protecting women and children from the inside out.