Guilty in happiness

‘Mbuzi ikakondwa amalonda ali pafupi‘.

I have always been cautious about being overly happy. I would like to think much of it has to do with my primal human instinct of survival. Happiness almost seems like a fragile state to be in. Mostly because one is always oblivious of everything that would go wrong when happy. Somehow our human instinct is to always be ready, even for things we cannot control. And so on my happiest day I catch myself mid laughter, questioning; what am I going to pay for this much happiness?

The view of life we keep being sold is one where a happy moment is almost always followed by a traumatic one. It has been portrayed over and over again in pop culture and society in general. The kid always get abducted on that wonderful Disney adventure;  the wife gets shot just after a beautiful wedding. And the poor guy from ‘Taken’ has to make that call, ‘I will find you, and I will kill you’, poor guy. That is what we have accepted as the norm.

Happiness as a topic is fascinating. But perhaps the most fascinating thing to me about happiness is the idea that it has to be earned. It is intriguing how much we police ourselves out of happiness. How much we question our happiness. Damn it, we even need a reason to spoil ourselves. It is as if we ask ourselves, what have you done to deserve this? Somehow we have to earn our own happiness. And because we are so hardworking we go further to police others, asking to know why they seem happy. One has to wonder, if we can’t even depend on ourselves for our own happiness, what are the chances someone else will supply it to us consistently?

I found myself questioning my own happiness lately, and almost succeeded in guilting myself out of it. Reminding myself of all the things I am yet to do, and all the things that have not gone according to plan. Accepting happiness as a state separate from my plans and ambitions is something that will take time learning. Unyoking happiness from the worst part of ourselves is a necessary task. Happiness has to be sacred, surviving in spite of all our broken plans of what we imagine the perfect life to be.

I hope you don’t ever have to need a reason to be happy!

mbuzi ikakonda amalonda ali pafupi’, I guess you will have to sell me this time around.

Happiness

 

 

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we gather again, to celebrate the amazing creature that a woman is!

IWD is becoming one of my favorite days in a year, no lie. The past days I have been planning on what to write in celebration of women all over the world.  Until today, I had settled on writing something on the hashtag #slayqueen. I know, very random. It just struck me as interesting how one hashtag has shifted from being a trend to almost an insult, in such a short period.  The memes are flying all over, the likes of ‘the slay queen starter pack’ with the coupon code and the dog filters. What I wanted to explore is what the negativity around the slay queen phenomenon might tell us about our views of what we want the ideal woman to be. I was ready ka! I was going to take pictures doing the slay queen pose- because we were going to take it an extra mile. But then, my mum sent this picture:

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There is something authentic and beautiful about this picture that softened my heart. Immediately it reminded me of the women often less celebrated;

  • The ones we meet in the market place prying their trade alongside men. The ones that call us auntie with a smile, which quickly turns to a frown when they realise we are not going to buy. The same ones that have been fake smiling to strangers, not just since morning, not since last week, but for the past three and a half years and godforsaken are just tired of smiling.
  • The ones that wake us from our afternoon nap with their knocking at the door to ask if kuli ganyu. The ones we answer before we even reach the door because this is the fourth time someone has come along asking for piecework. The same ones that wake up earlier than us, and with their friends beside them keep each other company as they leave their homes to search for work.
  • The ones that remind us what time it is because like clockwork you hear them each day around 10am on top of their voices passing by your house chanting the tune you are now accustomed to chinese, rape, mpiru, tomato, anyezi…. The ones we are able to identify just by the way they sound.
  • The ones that are able to do all the above with a smile on their face. Some are our mothers, our sisters and some we don’t know of.

This is to all the women who have had endure the greatest pain of sacrificing their dreams so that we don’t have to, I celebrate you! May the sacrifices we have received encourage us to press for progress and push for greatness.

Happy International Women’s Day you beautiful beings ❤

P.S I know some of you are probably still questioning if I would have pulled off the slay queen pose, Sigh. Have a little faith will ya haha.

Five lessons from 2017

Just like that, we are in 2018.

This time last year I remember being at my grandmothers house in Mzuzu. I recall having attended church in the morning and afterwards coming back home to listen to stories from the previous night, told by my aunt. One particular story still makes me laugh. One of the friends she had gone to a party with could not stop talking about all the meat he got to eat. ”Ndipo tangulya nyama, ngeti tikulya makatoni! Chibabikile wabapi wandagulepo nyama yanthena.” I don’t know what cartons had to do with meat, but I laugh every time I remember the story.

2017 has no doubt been eventful. When we started off the year I did not know how the year would end, and what would transpire in between. But a lot happened, new experiences, some milestones reached, mistakes made and lessons were learnt. So, here are my lessons from 2017.

1…We are not as strong as we think we are.

From the colour of our beddings to the books we read, everything we expose ourselves to has the power to affect us. Personally it took me 2017 to realise the things that caused me most anxiety were small things I could control, but often ignored. You can recall this blog post on cluttered inboxes.

2. Trust your instincts

If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Betraying your instincts is one of the things that takes time to forgive yourself. Because you knew, but you still went ahead.

3. Good things need preparation too

One of my greatest fears has been failure. Failure to translate my education into my work or business. Imagine being that person that got all the accolades but never really was good on the job! So I worked hard and prayed for a sign. I thought I was ready for God to answer but turns out I wasn’t. When the praise came I ended up feeling like a fraud.  Good things, bad things; they all need mental preparation. Are you preparing your mind for what you are praying for?

4. I make mistakes, and that’s okay

I have always been one to pursue perfectionism. But perfectionism has a trap. Once you make a mistake, the mistake spray paints every other good aspect of your life. You feel like you are failing, and failing badly. There is a difference between making a mistake and being a mistake. Knowing that difference is very crucial. Mistakes are going to be made, ALOT.

5. Unused creativity is not benign, it metastasizes- Brene Brown.

You might recall this post from last year. I wrote that post before I came across Brene Brown. Brene Brown is someone everyone should know! I will not say much about her in the hope that the suspense leads you to Google, lol. Creativity is our being and whenever we suppress it, it can lead to anxiety and destructive habits in our life. This is why I have given this year this motto: Creating for survival.

There you go folks!

Happy New Year!!!!

 

 

 

Are you wishing your life away?

Lately I have been looking forward to my Fridays. I have probably always been a fan of Fridays, I mean, TGIF! But I think am slowly getting next level. Actually each day in my mind is visualized in the context of how close it is to Friday. The closer we get to Friday, the more I like my days.

Well recently I came across a realization that came in the form of a five worded sentence. I don’t remember where I heard or read it, but for some reason it has been playing a silent song in my mind. ‘Stop wishing your life away’.

Now, if you are human then you know this. If your mind receives information it can not process, you will likely find no rest till  your brain figures it out. Your brain will wait for the moment you stop running up and down to remind you of the unfinished business. Sooner or later you will find yourself awake up in the middle of the night trying to figure out what the aroma you sensed while passing by a shop reminds you of. It will have you knocking on your parents door at night trying to ask them the name of a character in standard 1 text book. I have seen it.

When I was done running, I came back to meet my mind, still patiently waiting to find meaning to this sentence. I found it, and it wasn’t a pretty truth.

Here’s what I found:

As humans we often forget each passing day is another page turned over in our book of life. Each passing day is a page closer to the closing chapter of our book. We forget and it is understandable, our brain shields us from anything that could make us sad or afraid. It is a coping mechanism. But what is  crazy is that while we all want to delay this story as much as we can, we constantly want the pages to flip a little faster.  We admire the next chapter so much. We fantasize about the future and all the hope it presents. Ndikazaiphula! A word filled with so much enthusiasm and hope. But what about now? (cue Pinks song). Each moment we flirt with dreams of the future, we wish our life away.

The present holds so much that we ignore. It is here and it begs to be noticed. It is so vivid yet we choose to be attracted the abstract. What horrible taste we have!

Here’s to making every day a Friday.

Are you wishing your life away? 

Happy birthday to me!

I just turned 27. Shit.

27 y'all

I am not going to bother you with how scary growing up is. We are all going through it. I trust you understand.

What I will share with you however is what I learnt yesterday from deleting my old emails and unsubscribing to newsletters I never read.

First time I opened my email account I was so excited.  I kept subscribing to each and every site I liked. Am talking shopping websites, competition websites, car dealer websites and basically all websites that claimed you would be entered into a draw if you subscribe. It is 2017, haven’t won a thing. But you get the picture.

As expected my mail box was a mess, I had close to 4000 unread emails. Do not judge me.

I don’t know what happened but yesterday I decided I was going to delete all emails that I didn’t need. I would also unsubscribe myself from all sites that I didn’t need, they were a lot of those. Needless to say, I spent almost the entire afternoon sorting out my mail box.

I questioned why I never had deleted them earlier, why I never removed myself from mailing lists I didn’t even remember subscribing to. I mean, they have been bothering me for quite sometime. It is annoying when you are expecting an important email only to find its that 9:00am email from Be-forward. But I never did because maybe while they were annoying, I just didn’t think they were annoying enough. I let them pile up so high that now I dreaded the day I would have to clean up the mess.

Somewhere along the way of sorting my mail I realised that sometimes we treat our lives, our bodies like a yahoo mail box. We let in people that are toxic because at the time, they are not toxic enough. We let weeds kill the good in us because weeds need a home too right? We let problems settle in our minds, because they aren’t big enough yet. We fail to address issues while they emerge, because somehow we are hoping they will go away. But they don’t. Instead they will keep piling up till we sum up the courage to expel them from our life.

I have realized that what keeps us from growing and progressing are really the negligible bad habits that  we engage in daily. The little urge to view our timelines hoping there is something different from what we saw 5 minutes ago. I mean, we all know our little bad habits. And then there is the negativity and chaos we leave to settle in our hearts on a daily basis. While they might seem little, they do pile up everyday.

27 is about being cautious about how I spend my time. I wont let the next phase of my life by occupied by habits that suffocate me. Neither should you.

And yeah, I turned 27. I have been alive for 27 years. When you look at it that way, it really is a blessing and am not gonna hide it.

Happy birthday to me!

27

 

I have a problem, I can’t feel anything.

Okay maybe that is an exaggeration. Okay, it is. BUT, it is not far from the truth.

If you have ever watched The Vampire Diaries [or the Originals] then you will recall the particular moment that Caroline decided to switch off her emotions, just after her mom passed on. She refused to feel anymore pain, sadness and loneliness…just living life in a raw state, emotionless. That did not happen to me, of course, but I am tempted to think I feel less than the average human being.

No, I do not have a tragic past, neither have I had to survive anything. My life has been quite okay honestly and I thank God for that. It is really the disparity between my [and societies] expected reaction to circumstances and my actual reaction that scares me. And am not just talking of the bad experiences, but even the good ones. If my emotions were to be plotted on a graph, it would be a horizontal straight line. If we were to sum up my emotions in one word,  it would be ‘meh’. That is not healthy. I do not know where this came from or if it is even an issue to begin with. But I knew we had a problem when I saw how girls in college would degenerate after break ups compared to my own experience; I definitely knew I owed people a few more tears than I gave.

It is my belief that fully experiencing the high tides of happiness and low tides of sadness make life exciting. I mean, I would like to experience the legit feeling of screaming so loud after landing a dream job or experiencing something amazing. I would like to ugly cry after a nasty breakup and actually believe life can not continue without this great irreplaceable guy. You see, if I were to land my dream job right now, I would straight away be concerned with wondering whether I would deliver on the job or not. If I were to go through a breakup right now, I would probably feel sad for a few minutes then proceed to plan my day, because you see, class starts at 9 am tomorrow. For some reason, I miss out on riding out the highs and lows of life and my emotions. The very experience of life.

But that will change. It has to.

Do you feel anything?

 

Bleaching and Worrying

Can I just say…

I never realized how dusty Lilongwe is till I moved to Blantyre, Sigh! The little pleasures we take for granted as Blantyre people lol. The thought crossed my mind as I walked hurriedly kwa Senti trying to make it to church. Every passing minibus  seemed to destroy my hopes of just a minute of dust free air, just a minute. Well, life moves fast in L-City.

But I digress…

I arrived a few minutes late. The midweek service centered on being grateful to God without having to wait for something extraordinary to happen first. It is something that I have heard before; but this time it came with a unique twist- bleaching. I surely didn’t see that coming.

The preacher, a short man by all standards, had initially shared a story of how a few days back a friend had found him buying pork in the market. Teasingly, the friend had made a comment about how he, a short man, was also buying a short animal, a pig. Funny really. His reason for telling the story lied mostly on how he found the story not offensive because indeed, he is a short man. And quite happy about it too if I might add. The story somehow led to the issue of bleaching as he gave examples of how we as people become slaves to our own bodies as we try to change stuff we do not like about ourselves.

Bleaching as a topic is quite complex and I will not labour my brain by going deep into its complexities. However,  I would like to dwell on how as people (me inclusive) spend majority of our time worrying over what usually we cant change instead of living. Gosh! There is just so much we worry about as young people. We worry about how others view us, we worry about our height or lack of it, we worry about finances, we worry about relationships, we worry about career progress, we worry about everything. Lord have mercy!

I have realized that majority of our worries go down to the unreal images we have been taught to paint of ourselves to others. In as much as we would like to share positive stories, dreams and our wins, sometimes it is good to be real. Let us remind each other that we all get broke, we all feel like failures sometimes, we all worry about progress; and honestly let us remind each other that light skinned men and women are not spared from life’s difficulties.

It is good to share all aspects of life and not just the filtered aspects.

I hope someday our focus will solely be on exploring the world and not worrying. I look forward to it!