The image of that morning after stands out everytime I try and think of what happened. It has been over seven years since the switch went off. When I try and imagine how I started building the walls, that image of me lying down on the floor; worn out, defeated, depleted, comes to mind. I remember what was going on in my mind was “How could this happen to me? To us?” I cried my first and last tears over the relationship that had ended in such a crazy way. The attempted suicide, the manipulation, the blood on my floor and walls where it splattered, the pieces of glass all around the room when I came back from the hospital. That was the day I picked up the first brick and started building the wall that has now become so thick on my heart.
You cannot break down the walls until you know what materials were used to build it.
So, I am going back to where it all started. I refused to give it any other thought after I cried about it that morning after. I hardened my heart and told myself to be strong and move forward. My strength just continued over time and became yet another set of bricks and cement to add to the wall. It soon became impenetrable and in my defence, I was protecting myself. No one has been allowed to enter since, not completely anyway.
But Jesus is knocking down the walls. I’m going back to where it all started so that I can get back to being vulnerable, softer, trusting.
Don’t be too afraid of pain that you numb yourself completely, because that shuts out all the other feelings. You cannot experience joy without pain!
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone
~Green Day-Boulevard of broken dreams
There is this space filled with dreams that have never materialised, dashed hopes, unmet needs, unlived moments. The space filled with a lot of unfinished business and a lot of unspoken words. I am walking on this pavement that feels like my feet are stepping on broken glass, every step filled with regret. My heart heavy, my head full of shouting voices which refuse to shut up.
Have you ever met someone and felt like your whole world was going to burst into flames and be consumed to nothing if you don’t get to say hello? Sounds like an acute case of infatuation or something I cannot describe. I wouldn’t know about it because I am usually the level-headed one. I don’t believe in love at first sight or even the idea of falling in love. I believe in well-thought out actions, but emotions such as the one described above do not and should not make any sense. And they demand to be felt.
I am still on the boulevard of broken dreams. The path of nothingness, no joy or excitement, same thing everyday that I am sick to my stomach. What happened to dreams of laughter and conversations underneath the stars. They were just that, DREAMS. Why do we crave what we see in dreams? Who has ever actually found proof that dreams come true? I am of the opinion that the only dreams that actually come true are those we work on. They don’t come just by us wishing they would. So, why do we spend countless hours daydreaming, focusing our minds on the things we wish for and sometimes knowing that they will never happen–still we carry on dreaming. It is like an escape, a fantasy.
I want some reality for a change. I want to feel real emotions, I want to experience real things. I want to go on that trip to that amazing island, I want to stop dreaming about it. What stops us from living the DREAM? What stops us from facing the one who makes our hearts flutter and throwing all caution to the wind. Why do we prefer to be more courageous in our heads than we are in real life? I am having the kind of dreams that will totally consume me if I do not get to live them. I can already feel myself in my dreams and they feel so real.
As for my dreams, I think at this rate, they can only come to life through prayer and fasting.
Life is too short, what is stopping you from living the DREAM?
“…the words I can’t say are the holes I punch in the walls of my psyche…” ― John Geddes, A Familiar Rain
There are so many conversations in my head lately that I have found myself wondering when I will ever have the chance to let them play out in real life. So many unspoken words that I wish I had said, but never did. Why is it that we remember the parts of a conversation we should have had, only after that conversation is over? So many times I replay conversations and think, “I should have said this instead of that”…
I am slowly realising that part of the reason I have insomnia is because I have so many words that I haven’t said to people that are either gone from this earth or are still here, but lost to me. The weight of those words is heavy on my soul, as heavy as lead. I wish to have these conversations, but I am aware that some words are better left unsaid.
The weight of unspoken words is worse with people you know and love. When you cannot speak to the people around you, because communication is blocked or difficult. So you choose to have conversations in your mind that have no resolution. It is a mental strain of which if it goes unchecked, it can lead to withdrawal or random outbursts.
“why talk and say the unsaid words in haste when silence can speak the unspoken words?” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
For some, silence is golden, better than words said in haste. But you can only dream of the kind of connection where your silence is read appropriately. When someone can sense that you are speaking in your silence and act accordingly. This is a rare find and I am still searching for it.
I am still trying to find an outlet for the voices in my head, find a way to make the conversations in my head come to life and be spoken.
“I have buried dead bodies of unspoken words in the graveyard of my being” ― Hilal Hamdaan
How do you deal with the voices in your head? Why are we so afraid to speak about some things? Do we fear rejection so much that we would rather leave things unsaid than express how we really feel? What drives you to silence?
It’s the end of the year now and today we had our last fellowship for 2018 with my Christian brothers and sisters. One activity that we did was to reflect on the year that is about to end and discuss it based on three things: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In other words, we each had to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well and what was a total fail in 2018. I shared my three things with my fellowship family, but I thought this would make for a good blog post. So here goes…
I always want to start with the bad news and build up to the good news. 2018 was the year I had my very first mental breakdown. Yes, you read that right! I broke down in a really bad way in July 2018. I was in a very dark place. I almost gave up on my studies, I think a small part of me actually did give up and I hated the isolation I felt being so far away from home at the time. I hated being here in Hong Kong and some days I could not find the strength to get out of bed. For the first time in my life, I reached out to other humans to tell them “I am not ok” because I was so tired of being strong all the time. I cried all the tears I had been holding on to since the year began. I cried for all my failed relationships and the people I lost in 2017, including my father. I finally broke down. This was after a tumultuous trip to Ireland which was meant to be a vacation but turned out to be one of the worst moments of my adult life. Something about being back in a familiar place, with people who were supposed to be familiar but who had become strangers, triggered something in me and I just could not go on cruising on autopilot. Depression is not a joke, it is so easy to go over the edge. I almost lost it, but I am glad I only teetered close to the edge, I did not fall.
This year has been a tough one for my family concept. I love my family, but this year has tested everything I thought I knew about blood relationships. It doesn’t help that my Ph.D. thesis is about the meaning of family and I argue that family is more than just blood relationships(one day I will be able to write a post without mentioning the PhD…soon). Anyway, as we grow older it is expected that we grow distant, but as a child, I never thought I would live a life without my siblings or live knowing they are there but we are not as connected as we used to be. The distance, the change in mindsets, the different lifestyles… Human relationships are fragile and this is something I have reflected upon beforeHERE. We live and we learn though. How I wish we were young and innocent again.
Another ‘bad’ is that I am still single. This one is really just bad because my mother says so. I cannot explain how or why I am still single, but I just seem to enjoy being alone more than I do being in a relationship. I however know I have to change this bad habit of not wanting to be in companionship with a significant other. Studies have shown that coupling if done properly can have some positive effects. I always say I will try it, but it just hasn’t been a good year for that. Better luck in 2019.
The good in all this is that I am still standing. 2018 started off on a semi-bad note, things were not so rosy and the middle of it was the pits as I have just mentioned. But your girl is still here and I plan to stay. I am not a survivor, I am a conqueror. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. As I look forward to 2019, I am expectant of renewed favor upon my life. There is something that I am trusting God for in 2019, I seriously hope this is the year it finally happens cause I have beeeeeen waiting!!!
Happy end of the year reflections to everyone reading this. Consider doing this little exercise, to think about the good, the bad and the ugly in 2018 for you.
In May this year, I came across a tweet that answered a question I have always had about ex-boyfriends. I always used to wonder why they always come back into your life after some time, some after very long periods, some not so long. The answer was so simple but profound:
I have had the misfortune of having exes that stay in my life for a very long time, some I even call friends. They are not many, but I always try to be civil with people I used to care about unless they really did something to make me not want to ever see or speak to them again. It got so bad that my mother even noticed that I continued to mention names of people that should have been long gone from my life and she never understands why I entertain them. She would always say haudi kusiyana nemaexwakaitwa sei?” loosely translated to “you don’t want to let go of your exes, what is wrong with you?”
I don’t usually keep around any man that I know is still trying to convince me to take him back. The very few who are still my friends are there because there were no hard feelings between us, the break-up was mutual and it was never that deep. Sometimes people realise that they are better off as friends and they don’t have to hate each other. But, it is important to keep the conversations away from anything flirtatious or indecent in any way because that would be seen as crossing the line. I always have rules of engagement when it comes to such matters.
Then there is that one ex who just keeps finding you after months or years without talking. It’s like when they ghost they are in a relationship and all is well in their world, then when they are single again, they start thinking “wonder where she is or what she is up to now”? Even if they are blocked on your phone, they can send a random email or message on another random app, LOL. Stalker alert!!!
This type of “ex” is the one I am worried about. He just tries to sneak back into your life especially around the time when you have just found some balance, you are busy loving yourself and enjoying your glow-up. Then BAM, hey stranger (insert silly emoji)…Argh!!! Why do they always come back? What do they want? You start to ask yourself so many questions and start to relive the whole mess of a relationship you once had. Until you remember why you broke up in the first place and get angry all over again. This particular ex is not the good kind, this is the one you know was never, is not and will never be good for you. But, when you see that message you feel like typing “hey stranger” back.
Yes, they are back to see if you are still stupid 🤣🤣🤣
You know what will happen the moment you reply to that person. It is better to leave them on read. Thank me later.
He was such a handsome man, with light brown eyes and a smile that would light up a room…it surely lit up my whole life. I loved him so fast, there was nothing to hate about him. I must admit that a part of me felt lucky to be with him…he only ever dated the hot girls when we were back in college. I felt validated just by being with him.
Within a month he asked if we could move in together, how could I have said no? I thought this was our way to get even closer, I was already naming our children in my head. It felt like the next logical step to take. I was 23 and felt ready to take it to the next level.
He was romantic…he made breakfast for me, egg omelets with I LOVE U carved on them. Looking back, that was really corny, but I was over the moon. I kept asking myself, how could I have been so lucky. He was perfect and he loved me. He made romantic dinners which we ate by the balcony, talking and looking into each other’s eyes, under the stars.
Every evening, we would watch the sunset together, he loved the Cape Town sunsets. He bought me gifts and pampered me with so much love. I would get a kiss every morning when he left for work and I would be welcomed with a warm bath and a foot massage. He was everything I could have ever dreamt of and he was mine.
Until…one day. We argued and I thought it was normal, couples fight and make up all the time. I went to bed after and I thought we would deal with it the next day. He also came to bed, but we slept with our backs turned against each other. No cuddling or romance that night…
Around midnight, I woke up with a start. I felt pain on my face, someone had slapped me in my sleep. Drowsy with sleep, I did not understand at first what was going on. Was I dreaming? But it felt so real, so painful…I opened my eyes and saw him (my beautiful man), hovering over me on the bed, his face transformed from the beautiful one I was used to; his smile was gone and my favorite light brown eyes looked dark and ominous. I winced and held my cheek where he had slapped the sleep out of me and asked with all the innocence in the world “what’s going on, why did you hit me?” It was as if he could not hear me, he was screaming some words at me. In my confused state, I could not comprehend any of it. Another slap followed and that is when I realized he meant business, so I tried to get up and out of that bed. Slaps turned into fists and I started screaming because clearly, this man was on a mission to harm me.
I managed to get out of the room we slept in and ran into the adjoining room heading for the door. He was right behind me, that is when I realised he wanted to seriously hurt me. Gone was the man I thought I knew. He was replaced by some violent replica of him, who was currently kicking and shoving me into the wall. Why was no one coming to my rescue? I could hear myself screaming, why was no one coming to see what was going on? I opened the front door and ran outside to the security man of the complex we lived in. He followed me outside and caught up with me. Like literally ran after me. Now, I was being beaten for running outside. At least people finally came out to see what was going on because at that point I was crying to save my life. I could hear people asking him what was going on and he was telling them to mind their own business. Finally, I felt his weight off me, someone had stopped him. It all felt unreal, I was still sleeping and this was just a nightmare. He wouldn’t do that to me.
Meanwhile, I felt like I was no longer there at the scene. It felt like I was not in my body and I was observing all this as an outsider. I had thoughts running through my mind at a crazy speed, trying to make sense of it. How could someone so loving, gentle and romantic turn against me in such a violent manner? How could the love I know he was capable of showing disappear and be replaced with this hatred? Was the love even real or I had imagined it? How could he look at me like he didn’t know me? How could he find it ok to hurt me the way he just did? I heard my mother’s voice in my head saying “my daughter, never move in with a man before marriage“, was this my punishment? I could never forgive him, I told myself. NEVER…
When I began writing this post, I was feeling the changes in my life. I was feeling like a new person but could not really understand what was happening to me. I decided to leave the post as a draft, and now months later; I came back to it. I think I understand the process of transformation that I went through the last few months and I am glad that I did not write about it prematurely, with limited understanding.
A few months ago, I CHANGED. And I am happy to say that these changes have been for the better. 2018 has truly been the year of transformation for me. At first, I thought the change was temporary or fleeting and I would go back to the old me in no time…you know what we do at the beginning of each year with our “new year, new me goals”? I thought that was what I was going through at the time and didn’t think it would last.
I was loving myself; I was less tolerant of those who loved me wrong; I was restless because I knew I wanted more out of my life than what I had at that time. I could just feel change in the air and truly it came. I also thought maybe I was just aging and that is why I was starting to have a different perspective. But I soon got over that notion because…
As I reflected, I realized that I have gone through so many changes in my life. These changes include physical changes e.g. changing my address twice in two years (country to country); changing responsibilities (childhood and dependency to adulthood) and various career changes. However, the most difficult of my life changes have been changes in my personality, changes from childish behavior to maturity and changes in my spirituality. The 3rd decade of my life has been full of those changes and I resisted all of them at first.
What a joy it is to finally be comfortable in my transformation.
Accepting that I am a 30 something year old woman, who has gone through pain and disappointment but is still standing…
Thanking God for having lived to know that joy and happiness are attainable…
To finally say that my experiences have been lessons and actually mean it…
To not look at my past with pain, but with understanding of the kind of immaturity that may have brought some moments of displeasure
Forgiving and moving on. This is so liberating.
I have realized, with great pleasure, that not all change is bad. With time it all makes sense. The wonders of a life of reflection…