731 Days of Writing and Community

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I began this blog two years ago in a hotel room far from home, filled with questions of my worth. It wasn’t a very happy day, but then, my life was not particularly cheerful to begin with. There were times when I cried so much I wondered if the flow would ever stop, and there were days when between a quick smile and laughter I’d say to myself, who are you deceiving?

Who was I deceiving? Nobody. It was my subconscious indicating its need for expression. So when an old friend sent me a link to her blog, I thought to myself, I can do this too. And I did. My first month, in hindsight, turned out a summary of my persona, since the things I wrote about reflected my interests in culture, relationship (with others) and emotions. The second month in a nutshell: identity crisis.

I love that writing can express oneself, thoughts, emotions and interests. It didn’t seem quite appealing on the first trial and there were times I thought to quit this blog and move on… but I didn’t. Two years after I am still here. Writing. Sharing. Relating. With you. Because you let me. With every view, like, comment and share, you tell me you’re here and I am not alone. So that young woman who faced an identity crisis no longer exists and in her place is one eager to discover more about herself and this community.

The benefits that have accrued cannot be quantified. I’ve been more attentive to the world around, not just walking through it. I’ve listened to strangers, not only because they provide fodder for the next post (which is totally great), but because I understand what community means a lot better—it’s experiencing one another.

So this is me saying THANK YOU for walking and running with me. For teaching and helping satisfy that primal urge for communication. And most importantly for being you, because by so doing you let me keep being myself. Right here.

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Alive, Barely Breathing

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The days past since my last post on a pet friend turned food. The stats tell me you’ve visited weekly, especially Sundays and Fridays. Everyday my Reader and mailbox flood with new posts from other blogs and websites I follow– I wonder how they write, where their inspiration and drive comes from. One word comes back each time, discipline.

According to Brian Tracy, discipline is doing what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like it. Timi likes to write about this and sustaining momentum—I think it’s an admirable thing, being able to push yourself to do the necessary. One of the biggest problems of my life is keeping to something. You’d declare me mad for writing that now seeing as I’ve kept this blog for over a year and stuck to writing one of the most life-sapping exams of my existence lately. Indiscipline should not exist in my vocabulary yet sometimes it seems that’s my enemy.

Few weeks ago I read a post on Holistic Wayfarer’s blog. Where does your writing fit in the scheme of your life? Is it hobby, work, life, cathartic, fun?

I’ve thought about that—what writing is for me. Writing isn’t fun. Nope. It’s not hobby; I’d rather read a book. It’s neither work nor sums up my being. There are a number of things capable of filling those slots. For me, this is air; the cut I bleed through. When the voices in my head refuse to shut up, I write. When my eyes see too much, I write. When my heart is heavy, I write. When the injustice around me becomes too much to bear, I rip the Buffon behind it in the comfort of my ink.
At this rate when I’m married dear future husband might have to keep his eyes peeled for epistles in sheets from a troubled future wife. Just because.

There is a backlog of unwritten trouble. The people in my close circle have been supportive and I love them dearly for this. Sometimes though this thing around my neck squeezes a little tighter, and I don’t think it will go away until I write and do something I’ve toyed with for a while now—stick the pages in a bottle and let it float across the Atlantic… or sink. It’s a very cliché thing to do, but it does seem like fun. Briefly considered burning, but when have I ever been able to let written words die? It’s sacrilege.
What ritual would you do with your pages if you had to write something cathartic?

On a lighter note;
I signed up for a course on WordPress about brand building… or something similar; then didn’t follow-up. I’m blaming indiscipline, disinterest or the world was too much with me.

Also been toying with new themes for the blog– can’t seem to settle. Perhaps you could help. I’ve vacillated between Motif and Highwind and… searching. I’d like to go grey (no colours.) What do you think?

The news is downright disturbing lately; reports of rape, violence and sexual crimes against women and children. The madness in the world now is capable of taking the shine from your perfect day. On the one hand I think people have gone mad and these things are end-time signs; on the other I think maybe this isn’t entirely a bad thing—the news. Bad things have gone on for decades, if there’s so much of it hitting the news now then it can also mean people are speaking up and becoming vigilant with our children. The latter gives me a modicum of hope; the former depresses.

Well, guess I’ll be seeing you. Do tell me how you’ve been and what pages of your life this hermit has missed.

Freestyle Writing Challenge

I picked up this Freestyle Writing Challenge from George and he’s come up with an interesting topic that tickled.

If you were invited to someone’s home for dinner and the meal was the worst thing you’d ever tasted, what would you do?

I have never considered myself a foodie, nor am I big on paying visits to people either, but as a general rule peculiar to me and maybe a number of people around, my eyes and nose eat before my mouth does. What this basically means is that I have to find a meal visually appealing as well as having an irresistible aroma before the thought of munching comes in.

But what if the sight and smell are deceptive? That’s a funny one seeing as I have been caught smack dab in this situation before.

My facial expression says a lot and so I expect that the faces of others would too. Naturally my first reaction will be to see how others are taking this onslaught of their taste buds. It’s always exciting watching people pretend to love something. There’s the initial shock accompanied by a widening of the eyes. The forced swallow with a wince, like the esophagus is trying so hard to keep the food down. Then there’s the total lock-down. The last part I love the most: Pretense with a pretty smile that fails to touch the eyes.

Next up is seeing how the host/hostess handles their plate, and if they’re even aware how horrible the food tastes. Maybe they’ll pretend it’s decent or they’re just clueless.

But if they were my friends I’d simply say, “Oh God this is terrible. Were you sleeping when you cooked this?” And perhaps think of how the meal can be salvaged in any way. We might laugh over my outburst. Or they might feel ashamed and I’d feel terrible about blurting out my thoughts insensitively.

Otherwise I’ll be good natured, swallow the meal without complaint—even commend the cook—and pray I don’t puke before it’s over.

Then I’ll make sure I never eat another meal there again. So help me God.

Word count: 310

Time: 4 minutes

The Rules

1. Open a blank document.
2. Set a stopwatch timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever length you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds! Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals
6. At the end of your post write down the number of words to give an idea of how much you can write within the time Frame.
7. Put the whole document onto your post and nominate 5 others and give them a new topic. Remember to copy paste the rules in!

Nominations:

Target Verified

Tolawrites

A Prompt Reply

Chynanu’s Blog

A burdie from Lahore

Sheedart’s Blog

If you’re reading this and want to partake, please do.

Your Topic:

Tell us about something out of character.

 

Flirting With Darkness

                                                     

My blogging friend George over at the Off Key Of Life does this exercise where he plays on the dark-side. The general idea is to get out of your comfort zone and write something different fiction-wise. It seems like a good idea so I’ve decided to give it a shot too. Why did I choose flirting with darkness? Because that’s what it feels like to me lol. Continue reading

On Blogging: A Journey in Twelve Months

1. There’s something about February that makes people want to start a new life on a blog. I don’t know what it is, but everytime I visit a site, I dig into the archives to uproot the first post. February! Continue reading

Just A Glass Of Life

As far as taking parental advice goes, I can be a bit of a hot head, like the curious bird eager to see how everything works. I love to tweak and play with things, explore and test, and see life as one giant puzzle. But I am also adept at locating the bandage when burned. Continue reading

Ends and Beginnings

Discombobulate. That’s my word for 2014, alongside befuddled, arduous and complicated. It was the most horrible I’ve had in all my twenty-ish years of existence, and if the stories and conversations I have had are anything to go by, then a majority of the world population share my sentiment. Continue reading

Gender Wars And Defence Mechanisms: How Do We Handle Change?

Change isn’t easy…changing the way you live means changing what you believe about life. That’s hard…  Dean Koontz      

                                                                                                                                                                                                       It is quite amusing the conversations bouncing off the internet today and how sensitive people have become as regards sexualism and gender roles. Continue reading

Religion, Faith, And The Ministry Of Fear

Photo credit: christianfunnypictures(dot)com
Photo credit: christianfunnypictures(dot)com

How strange is it that those who should have the greatest weapon of war, turn out to be the most fearful?

Few weeks ago on my way to work, I mounted a bike that left my trouser legs begging for a wash. On alighting I asked the driver for permission to use his rag to wipe my mud stains from my cloth. On finishing a middle aged man called my attention and said, “Next time use your own handkerchief.” When I inquired as to why he would suggest that, his response bordered on some fetish practices peculiar to the people of Western Nigeria (well, all of Nigeria if I may say, but I happened to be in the West).

This got me thinking. Continue reading

A Sprinting Love Affair

 

I hate to sweat

But baby we did good together

I was marred by uncertainty

Unsure if I could go the distance

But you were there

Sturdy. Steady. A reliable cushion. Continue reading

Who Is A Monster And Who Is A Man

Photo credit: www.overstock.com

Simi made her way to the bathroom. She’d left her companion with their bags at the airport lobby, waiting for their flight to the States where a new life would begin for her.
As she made the turn, she bumped into a moving object. Supplies tumbled to the ground and in a flurry hands reached down to rescue rolling items.
Two pairs of eyes met. Held.

The flashback had her reeling. Continue reading

Journey to self

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“Self-acceptance and self-knowing are deeply interconnected. To truly know something about yourself, you must accept it. Even things about yourself that you most deeply want to change must first be accepted – even embraced. Self-transformation is always preceded by self-acceptance.” – David G. Benner (The Gift of Being Yourself)

When P asked that I told him something about me that no one else knew, I froze. There are a hundred things people don’t know about me seeing as I am a reticent being by nature, never particularly willing to share myself completely with anyone. I’ve often been forced to wonder if I’ll make a decent lover or wife. Maybe I will, when I find a good reason to trust another man with myself. Or maybe I won’t. It’s is after all said that the heart of a woman is an ocean of secrets.

Either ways, there are two major reasons I don’t feel compelled to reveal my feelings to others: the first is that the more people know, the more vulnerable you become. The other being the fear of being misunderstood and judged. You see, I have stumbled too many times in search of my identity. I have discovered hidden perks that would make my folks and friends cringe inwardly. But right beside that quirky and perky female is the tolerant and compassionate one people are accustomed to.

For years I thought the latter persona a more acceptable version of me and inadvertently repressed the former. Can’t confess it was healthy. Sometimes an emotional outburst reflects itself in very crazy ways most people can’t relate with. It was widely assumed that I was most surely facing an identity crisis. I believed that for a while, until I realized they were all wrong. I wasn’t facing an identity crisis, I was learning more about what was in me.

The more I explored my mind, the more I discovered more colors and shades. The more curious I became of my environment, the more I understood that I could be both the quiet pool and the raging ocean. When I began to embrace my numerous personality traits–both those I loved and what I so desperately wished wasn’t mine, the better my relationship with myself and others got. Oh, they aren’t any less surprised by something new, but they’ve stopped thinking something’s wrong with me.

Today I am learning to hone my strengths, and manage my weaknesses–not shy away from them or pretend they don’t exist. I am learning to assess my blueprint and decide how to project this to the world, to create a healthy balance of sort with myself. Most importantly, I understand that to know love, I must first learn to love me–all of me; this way I can also learn to love others and all their different hues, and give those who want to, a chance to love me too.

“Being loved for our best selves is something we should rejoice at, but being loved for our very worst is a joy that reaches to the innermost parts of hearts, healing us, blessing us, and providing us with the strength we need to live a full and beautiful life.” – J.Soriano

Free Fall

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This is the first time I’m doing this–writing without thinking. Sometimes I have thoughts and words buzzing in my head, that i can’t seem to communicate. Feels like some disability of sort, epilepsy of the mind perhaps? Which someone was kind enough to term ‘writers block’. And other times when I manage to get something coherent out, I feel stupid afterwards.

You think maybe that’s some complex? I don’t feel inferior to anybody, intellectually intimidated Continue reading