Lifeline…

I’ve got intense palpitations as I type this… Adrenaline. I just finished Episode 8 from Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy (titled “My Shot” ), I’m late, I know. But thank God! So I got season 16 on flash drive about a week ago and binge watched 7 episodes, if you know Grey’s, you know how thrilling finally watching a new episode is (that had to be specified because ya know we know how to keep watching them repeats and still be shocked that Derek has a wife). I finally listened to my body and didn’t start episode 8, I justified it to myself as 7 being the perfect number, the closing number so it’s good that I stop at 7. No. Don’t you dare judge me. Anyway, life happened during the week and I was ready to resume on Friday but I passed out… Only to be woken up by my little brother, we had an emergency.

We waited an hour for the ambulance because, Ms. Rona, but that wait helped me calm down because it can’t be what we thought it was if he was still alive when it happened. But remember when it happened to Dr. Bailey? Her vitals were normal too, but she knew, thank God. The ambulance took him away a little after midnight, we prayed and tried to sleep. I had plans to try watching Grey’s again that Saturday morning when I gave up on sleep but I knew I couldn’t watch an intense medical drama right then, especially new episodes that I wasn’t prepared for, especially the episodes after Maggie loses her cousin on her table to an unsuccessful heart surgery. So I had a 2 hour phone call instead.

He came back today, a little weak, a little tired but a lot alive. Miraculously so! I was on my way out this morning, as in out of it. It’s honestly been going on for over a week but this morning I was about to jump out of the damn plane. Especially after reading that Naya Rivera’s body was found. That made it worse because it was too embarrassing to tell anyone that I was so sadded by the passing of a Glee actress. I mean it was only a trigger but I would have been sad anyway. You see, Glee was my lifeline in high school. I wanted nothing more than to be on a stage, and there they were, on it, in high school. I was also late in discovering Santana’s (Naya’s character) gem of a voice so it was still precious to me, but not in that fragile way. I would cry watching Glee, not because of a sad scene, but because I wasn’t on the other side of the screen and it was quite literally killing me! I got to come home early from work today, thank God. I planned to try watching Grey’s again but instead I drowned in more Naya videos. And then the call came… He was coming home.

He came home today and we learned of the extent of the miracle that this was. So because my eyes were wide again, I finally got to watch episode 8…what impeccable timing! In this episode, the history of Grey’s is revisited so beautifully as they remind us of how Mer grew to being the absolute fearless force she is; testimonies from old patients and doctors, including Dr. Cristina Yang herself. Yeah, I cried. Because Grey’s too has been my lifeline. Just like with music, I’ve had moments where I’ve hated Grey’s because real life doctors weren’t like that, they didn’t care about helping me or my loved ones and I so desperately wanted that. Today though, I learned of a doctor who helped us keep our family of five, a family of five. Life won’t be the same again but today we’re a family of five still. A family that now has close people fighting COVID but fights fear together.

So as we continue to fight more and adjust some, may we be grateful for the victories in between. Let’s allow ourselves the full human experience; mourn, love, heal, laugh, cry, try, be and then some. That is at the end of the day what truly living and not existing is. That is the lifeline. At the end of Mer’s hearing (after she calls out one of the panelists for being Derek’s killer and then still being arrogant enough not to remember her), Dr Bailey gives a standing ovation and “yaaassss” worthy monolog about how Dr Grey’s many trials have not hardened her but instead made her better, because she lived in them, all of them. When she saw her mother’s, step-mother’s, sister’s, father’s, husband’s, friends’ and colleagues’ flatten, hers stayed, even after that one time she practically died after drowning. Fully living (even when delayed–like when she disappeared after Derek died) was her lifeline. Knowing that Bailey lived was mine, knowing that God lived was mine right now, that’s how I believed he would come back and that if he didn’t, we would be okay. That’s how I know that with everything all my family is going through, we’re coming out.

We will be okay. You will be okay.

Painted Red

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On this uniform and mask-wearing day, I had full cup of pure coffee to try and fill an odd hunger… cue palpitations. I should mention that this coffee was consumed in the middle of a sense of impending doom as the time where I would soon have to face conflict head-on, so by the time the palpitations set in, I was well on my way to a full anxiety attack. Here’s the thing about me, if I can help it, I stay as far away from conflict as possible.I normally hide behind being “too grown for drama” or something similar, so if I don’t abso-freaken-lutely have to, I do not face conflict. My mind knows that it’s the grown up thing to do to practise facing it, but I’m rarey ever ready.

Back to today… Knowing with everything in me that the stuff was about to hit the fan, I did what I abso-freaken-lutely had to do and I was so proud. Petrified, but proud. Proud that I removed my hands from my eyes (Yes, I know COVID guidelines. I had just washed them.) to my phone and started the process to dealing with my mess, “I’m going to reward myself by doing my nails today, and I’m going to paint them red!” I said to myself. I mean I still had  to speak  to the other person involved but I decided it was okay to reward myself for accomplishing step one. It seemed so big and impossible. When it came to step two, I was still afraid, but accomplishing step one made me a little more confident in going for it. It went a lot better than I expected which reminded me of the classic pattern of anxiety ridden people, seeing red before the actual colour.

Let me tell you why step one was so big for me, even though step two was actually the trickiest part. I read the following line in an article on depression a few years back: “Today I brushed my teeth, I even brushed my hair… Sure my gums bled a little and my head hurt because my hair was in knots, but it’s okay because today I brushed my teeth and even brushed my hair.” Before you get all grossed out, the writer was talking about how in her recent depression spiral she couldn’t even do those simple and basic tasks, but that day she did. I’ve been there, never thought of it that way but reading that helped me so much, and ever since then, I try to see and acknowledge my step ones.

Before we calm down we see “red”. Red is known as the colour of warning, attention, danger, love; extremes, really. But it is also the colour of adventure, for someone who’s always felt limited to colour from their skin tone, theonly reds I mess with a the dark-really-actually-maroon types. How dare I actually go red?! But today, red is also brave, like I was, like I am in my journey of love (blog post for another day, a follow up to ‘Dear No One’). That’s why they paint the town red. Today, I’ll just be starting with my nails.

 

 

P E O P L E

Today I allowed myself to engage in a conversation that completely ripped me off of my joy and peace. I was physically trembling. I was having an intentionally peaceful moment when my phone rang because you know, in these times especially (but every other day in this world) we need to be intentional about peace and joy… Even though they were freely given. The thing about this call is I was trying to convince the person on the other end to choose peace but they just weren’t budging. It was so intense I was trembling because I felt myself fighting to hold on, to fight for it, begging and screaming for it to stay but it kept slipping away.

I now suddenly needed to vent, so I called someone else and poured my new unrest onto him when he was already struggling with his own, when I had spent so much time trying to pour ‘whatever is good, noble, true and just’ for his meditation but I shattered that fragile half-way up glass sculpture with my lightning of fury and frustration. So then I started a whole new war, this one against myself because for someone who preaches protecting your peace I had just allowed mine to be trampled on. That was the last my self control saw of daylight…

I went home with the intention listening to Together by KINGS & COUNTRY ft uncle and Tori and maybe read a little in the taxi, that always calms me. But I had this riff from Johnathan McReynolds’ Cycles playing in my head so I looked for it and found People first. Not new to my ears by it spoke new painful truths to my heart. Remember what I said about my self control? Yeah I was balling the whole way home in that taxi listening to that song.

I was mad at the person at the other end because this person rejected the choice of peace and now I had no peace. When I have no peace all my insecurities come out to play. Johno sings about needing to be delivered from people. How sad is that?! But it’s not an odd concept for me, it’s been the fight of my life – people. Affirmation, their badness, them disturbing me, finding a balance between loving them while guarding my heart as the Bible instructs. Anyway, not the point. The point is I was suddenly overcome by a heavy need to ask God to forgive us people. At the end of the song he calls all our hurtful ways out from hurt people hurting, those who had joy taken away taking other people’s joy away and asks God to forgive them (Jesus vibes, right?) and then asks Him to heal him from people. Imagine someone having to be healed from you! Another anyway, and then he calls more of our badness out…by name! “crazy (people), trolling (people), self-righteous (people), entitled (people), hating (people), lying (people), disrespectful (people)… Forgive me when I’m one of these people. Deliver me.” So yeah, as you can imagine now right there is when I broke down in that taxi when our filth was so obviously terrible and stinking right in my face. And then He forgives as only He can. May He grant us the grace to be really like Him in that regard.

In the name of learning to finish on the same point I started, this is a line from the second verse of the song : ” She was the reason I smiled every morning and he took the last bit of joy I was storing. That’s too much power for anything human. “

” The peace of God that passes all understanding guards your heads and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philipians 4v7

Hurts To Be Human

With over seven trillion nerves, the human body must be nature’s most complicated puzzle piece… Heck, that makes the human body an entire puzzle on its own and as if with over seven billion people in the world that’s not enough, each body is different. I heard a watch maker say once that with every new watch she puts together, it feels like she’s taking a new exam, I can’t help but think of us like that now. As time pieces.

Life is measured by time, engineered by the one Maker that doesn’t feel like He’s taking an exam. On the contrary, He sets the question paper with a memorandum in place. He already knows how long our battery life is, depending on when the pin is pushed it to signal ‘Start’, depending on whether or not when the battery dies it will be replaced or if that would be considered the end of the watch’s lifespan.

The nerves in the human body are just as complicated as the machanics that go into a watch if not more so. Each one triggering a response from some part of the body, good or bad, understandable or not. The response sounds some kind of an alert almost always but we can’t hear it or choose to ignore it because where do you start figuring out the language of over seven trillion nerves inside your body? I always say ‘I wish my body could talk so it could explain to me exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it’ and I always remember that the body does talk, it has a mouth. It’s up to me to try and interpret the language of over seven trillion nerves to another puzzle that has its own different wiring and machanics. They’re the kind that are meant to help with the proper interpretation and answers… I say ‘help’ because only the Maker can truly know wassup. This is why I can’t understand how some doctors do what they do without believing in God and without the help of the Holy Spirit.

This is how and why we spiral… Much like the world is now, much like I am now. If each malfunction in the machanics of the body triggers a ripple effect through so many other nerves and the organs they’re attached to, it’s no wonder we’re in pain we don’t know how to fix, why I’m in pain I can’t fix.

I’m not really sure what I’m getting at here, I’m heavily medicated so please forgive me… I hope we can heal.

P. S the title is also the album title of Pink’s latest album, I love Pink because she’s made it okay for me feel how my messy machine of a body feels. She makes me feel like I’m using my mouth and being heard even if nothing comes of it… Like my many doctor’s visits.

Start A Fire

“Ready?” Who the hell determines what the hell that even means? Who decides? Who came up with with all this criteria that we checking boxes by. Yes I’m a little on fire right now and that automatically had me thinking “I’m not ready” if I’m still feeling things this deep. I missed the time when I was unphased. This remains what I still consider the best version of myself. Here’s the thing about that though, I was unaffected because I didn’t care. That was super convenient for me. But also, I was at the height of my selfishness at that time, I’m still working to get out of that trench of Me-me. All while also trying to get back to that unaffected place… See how that’s a problem? Lol. My poor soul.

I watched a video yesterday when a woman talked about an argument she had with her husband while she was pregnant. At some point in the argument he looked at her and said “I hate you.” At this point she was convinced that it was over. She then said that soon after she said she realized that the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference (this is with the exception of abusive people of course, those people have love issues with themselves). The husband then reassured her that he really did hate her but he loved her more than he hated her. I’m listening to one of my favourite albums ever as I write this, The Truth About Love by P!nk. True Love ft Lilly Allen from that album played when I was halfway through the first paragraph and as much as I love that song, I never quite agree with the line “I hate you so much, it must be true love” in the same way I never quite agreed with or understood the video from yesterday until I put the two together this morning in the middle of my raging fire. Someone that’s willing to really FEEL for you must really love you. That ish is intense and difficult! Again, don’t mistake someone who’s having a full human experience with an abusive person in need of help.

Great Escape by P!nk (same album) played on my walk in between paragraphs and I heard it for the first time. I mean I’ve heard it before, plenty of times. But today I heard it heard it. Maybe because I’m having a ‘feel fully/full human experience’ morning. She talks about how everyone around you wants to smooth things over AKA attempt to smooth the rug that’s constantly gaining height from all the stuff being shoved under it but she won’t let you make the greeeeeeaaat eeescape because the passion and the pain is gonna keep you alive some daaaay.

Remember though, portion size matters. Start a fire, just don’t burn yourself or those around you. I’d suggest any P!nk album, the rougher and louder the better. There’s very few things a well played electric guitar and low register voice can’t fix, it’s like water disguised as petrol to your flame. Before you know it, there’s just smoke. Apply a little balm in the form of KING’s We Are King album and read or write a little. Doctor’s orders.

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.