Love has been a source of more pain than joy to me in the last few years. But it is not LOVE that has brought me more pain than joy.
I now know that the people who do not know LOVE cause all the pain that is in the world today. It is people who do not understand what LOVE stands for, who are the problem, not love itself. There is nothing wrong with love, but our understanding of the concept is flawed.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up and its faith, hope, patience never fail. 1 Corinthians 13 vs 4-7.
As a Christian, this is the definition of love I should know and apply. As I grow older, I learn about LOVE more and more. I realize my own selfish needs, my own pride and how I have handled my past relationships with other people. I take full responsibility for own failed relationships and vow to learn to love the right way. I forgive people who have deliberately loved me the wrong way and boldly state that they didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any better.
As I let go of all the bad thoughts and negativity brought on by thinking the wrong way, I want to encourage someone to open their heart to someone today. I am not encouraging you to fall into a trap or love someone who does not love you. The right kind of love shows itself, it cannot hide and it does not hide. When it is real, you just know. There is just too much pretense in the world it is tiring.
If you can love others the way you love yourself, then you will figure out the real way to love. Would you want to hurt yourself? Would you want to lie to yourself? No!! So it starts with how we love ourselves and only then can we truly love others.
I have become that writer who only writes when they have free time. I used to be able to write even in the busiest of times, as a coping mechanism. My writing was an escape from the busyness of life and not something I would only do when I got time. In case you missed my post on the reasons why I write please click here → I used to write… Writing used to be so much fun.
Today I found myself wondering why these days I can only write when I have free time. What happened to writing out of inspiration that came from anywhere: a song I listen to; an experience I go through; a beautiful thought I have?
I came up with a couple of reasons:
This Ph.D. ok! I know, it is common to be inundated with tasks that include research, academic writing, meeting deadlines for supervision…etc, etc, when you are a Ph.D. student. I haven’t had time to even think of blogging or writing in my journal because I have more pressing writing tasks on my desk at the moment. I always say my blog is always there and it has no deadline.
Image from blogs.nature.com
I have lost myself. Ok! this one is a bit melodramatic, but it came up in my thought process anyway. I have lost interest in most of the things I used to find joy in doing owing to my current state of…*wait for it*…being a Ph.D. student. Again, we go back to reason 1.
The search for content; which has in the past been relatively easy and interesting to do, has become a chore, one I cannot find the energy to do on some days. I know content must come naturally (to personal bloggers) because we write about our own lives. But I realized I need to be in my best state of mind to come up with interesting content that readers can relate to, otherwise what’s the point right?
So, today I remind myself of this :
I want to do better. I really don’t have to wait until I am free to write because writing is a form of expression. If I cannot express myself, even during those times when I don’t feel like it, then I have lost my voice.
Here’s to wishing words will keep flowing on this page and on paper; ideas will keep flooding my mind and I will stay ALIVE!
I got this idea of formatting a reflection of the month from a fellow blogger, Maria Nabatanzi. I thought it was a really cool concept and I modified it for this post. Please check out her original post “Taking Stock: September 2017” at http://happy2bflawed.blogspot.com. Below, you will find my September stock take…in other words…what I have been up to in the month of September:
Reading: She No Longer Weeps by Tsitsi Dangarembga, a Zimbabwean author. I finished reading this short stage play in two days. I went on a bit of a rant on twitter about it, see below:
Writing: I want to write a detailed review about the book I spoke about above “She No Longer Weeps. I have also written some drafts for this blog and managed a few posts in this month. I am more focused on producing some academic writing, but my blog keeps me sane so I always come back when I am procrastinating. I do try and maintain a balance though, for my loyal readers and for my academic career.
Social Life: wouldn’t you want to know 🙂
Wishing: that time would stop moving so fast so I can spend more time with my queen (my mum). I love being at home and I am making good use of the time. My other wishes will never see the light of day, LOL…they stay in my head.
Can’t get enough of: Insecure, the series. OMG, I can relate on so many levels, plus the main character is a black woman!! Go ISSA!!!
Bruno Mars’ song “Versace on the Floor”…sigh. Do yourself a favour if you like the 80s kinda vibe. I will tell you more about how this song makes me feel one day…
Trying out: fitness!! Good Lord, yes I have decided to start working out. I have some areas on my body that I feel need to be toned and shaped 😉 but let me be the first to tell you, it is not going well. I am just not made for the gym or any kind of hard physical activity, plus I hate waking up in the morning. I am not sure about this one, hence I AM TRYING IT OUT.
Worrying: I constantly worry about my Ph.D. although I know I am not supposed to worry as a child of God. The other day, I could have killed a friend of mine who suggested that I may not be taking Ph.D. seriously. You never mock someone’s Ph.D. journey or make jokes about it, EVER!!! I am always on edge about it and worry about getting it right. My friend is very lucky he is all the way in the UK, that saved him from being strangled. I *heart* him though, so he is forgiven.
Knowing: I know for sure that I am loved, I am beautiful inside and out, I am blessed every single day and I have a bright future ahead of me. I make plans every day and take actions towards achieving my goals. I practice positive affirmations on a daily basis. One thing I am absolutely certain of is that, if God is for me, no one can be against me. I am covered by the blood of Jesus.
Thinking: about the next few months and my upcoming vacation in a bit. I am so looking forward to some fun with the girls. Location unknown.
Needing: Ivy Ejam’s Journal called #MindingHerBusiness. As soon as I am able, I will purchase this woman’s guide to success and how to live a happy and fulfilling life. She gives me life on her live Instagram feed. Do yourself a favour and check her out on mindingherbusiness.com or follow mindingherbusiness on IG. BTW, my birthday is in four months, so gift ideas *hint hint*
Grateful for: This list is long, but I will keep it short. First of all, the gift of life. I lost my dad a few months ago and although I know he is in a better place, it is never easy to know someone you once knew and loved is gone. I am grateful that I have come to a place of accepting it and forgiving myself for things not said or done when he was still alive. RIP DAD. Secondly, I am grateful for good internet in Zim…that’s a relief. Gone are the days of load-shedding every day and I can actually get some work done. As always, I am grateful for my family and the few people I call friends. Lastly, my beautiful mind.
Planning: I prefer to keep my plans private, you never know who is truly cheering you on. Most humans are secretly plotting your downfall so I will pass on this one. You will only see results.
The above quote by Joyce Meyer(from the book “The Confident Woman”) has just breathed life back into my world. If anything could make me more energetic, its the reminder that I am going to be excellent, not mediocre. That’s my God-given destiny. What is the point of doing anything at all if you are not going to do it well? However here we are being encouraged to go a bit further than just doing well or good…but to be EXCELLENT!!!
Let’s unpack the meaning of the word excellence. According to the Cambridge English dictionary, excellent refers to something extremely good. Words like “outstanding”, “superb”, “marvellous” are used to describe something excellent. Excellence is the quality of being outstanding, extra-ordinary and standing out. Imagine all these words being used to describe you, your work or your life??? I think that is something to emulate or at least work towards. *Not for societal approval but for personal affirmation and development.
If you know me, you will know that mediocrity is something I do not admire. In anything!!!I am a perfectionist in my own life and if you recall a previous post Why I fall in love with myself everyday…I shared how I dream big and go after my dreams like a madman. This is how life should be. Why should I settle for a mediocre life when I can live the life of my dreams? If the shortness of our lives has taught me anything, it’s that being mediocre is not going to earn me any extra points in the after life.
How does this relate?
A lot of people have been asking me why I am in Hong Kong. I guess now I have a perfect answer. My pursuit of excellence had landed me in Hong Kong where I just began my PhD in Sociology and Social Policy. Yes, the plan is to become a Doctor of Philosophy in my subject because I can. I saw an opportunity and I went for it, even though its in a different continent, different country…
What is currently stopping you from living your best life?
My humble encouragement for you today…
The world is your oyster and it is never too late to do that thing you love, travel to that country you have always wanted to go to, have that relationship you dream of…you only get one shot at this thing called LIFE! So go hard or go home; make it do or die, give it all or nothing..etc. All the things you want are only a decision away. If you believe nothing can stop you…obstacles will look like opportunities (fact!!!)
It’s not often that we take the time to fall in love with ourselves. We are so caught up in loving others and often neglect ourselves. As I was enjoying a cup of coffee yesterday it suddenly dawned on me that I do love myself and I fall deeper and deeper in love with ME every day. In the spirit of Women’s Month, I have decided to embrace my womanhood with a dedication to myself (I don’t need an excuse really…).
One of my closest friends recently described me as “phenomenal” (swoon) and I decided to write up some of the things that help to mould me into the woman I am and why I fall in love with myself everyday:
#I am extremely unapologetic about who I am
What you see is what you get!! I do not make apologies for who I am, how I look, how I talk or dress!! Fortunately or unfortunately, its either you like me or you don’t. I have found there is no grey area there. If you are one of those people still trying to decide how you feel about me, I hope this article helps.
#I accept that I am crazy
This may be an understatement but since I am the one writing this, please allow. I have my moments of utter madness and silliness and I love that about myself (I think everyone does, but it happens to some more often and in different degrees). If you have never seen this side of me you are in luck. On the flipside, you might be missing out because that means you only get to see my serious side, which can be quite intimidating. I have been told I cannot dance, but I dance anyway. I accept and love myself, flaws and all!!!
#I constantly forgive myself
Living with guilt erodes the spirit. I have made many mistakes in my adult life and I cannot say I am done messing up, but I have learnt to let go of the guilt or bad feelings that come with that. I have hurt some people and I am not proud of that. I have a fiery temper that gets me into trouble more times than is necessary, I am a work in progress!! Although I hope those that I hurt have forgiven me; I am not worried because between me and God, all is well in my soul. Self-loathing is a powerful thing and it keeps us from loving ourselves. I have learnt to forgive myself constantly, no matter how bad it gets.
#I dream big and I chase those dreams like a madman
I am very ambitious and nothing can stop me once I put my mind to something. This has led me to cross boundaries and challenge norms. I don’t hear NO and I don’t accept failure. I love this about myself because I would not be where I am without the drive that moves me and helps me get out of bed in the morning. Success does not come from sitting idly waiting for opportunities to come by. I look for opportunities and with my God by my side, I have done many things. I believe there is still more to be explored…watch this space!!
#I embrace that I am a 30 year old, unmarried woman with no kids
Contrary to popular belief in Zimbabwean culture, this does not make me less than “normal” or make me love myself any less. I embrace this stage of my life and my perception is that it is time to work on myself whilst I wait for future hubby. I do not succumb to the pressure to get married because I am not one for conformity, plus where is the eager hubby? I will get married (I promise) if and when I am ready, not because “everyone else my age is already married or at least have a child”. It is amazing how many times attempts have been made to make me feel less loveable than I am just because I am not yet married. In the small town where I am currently some have even added that “no one wants to marry an educated woman”. I mean *insert side eye*…in 2016?
#I take time to reflect on myself
Some people are scared to be alone with their thoughts. I am not. I love the fact that I can be alone as this is when I shut everything out and reflect on my actions, words and ponder on where I am going. This has helped me to assess where I go wrong and what I would not want to repeat in future. Everyday is a new opportunity to begin again and what I did or how I thought yesterday may be used in a positive way. My moments of reflection shape my confidence in my abilities and increases my self-love.
Last but not least…
#My relationship with God
God is love and he is my Father. I have not known a greater love than this. Once you know God, you cannot help but love yourself the way Father loves you!!!
Have you learnt to love yourself? Because no one else will love you if you don’t!!
At the risk of writing about something that is completely obvious, I am going to write about the fact that time is a concept that seems to have a will of its own. I have very little control over time; humanity has very little control over time. Well done if you figured this out before I did!!!
In a day, all we get is 24 hours which may or may not be enough depending on what you need to accomplish on that day. So many times people express frustration over running out of time. What really gets to me the more I think about time is how it seems to stand still when you want it to move fast! Whenever I am waiting for something to happen, time seems to move so slow that I feel like pulling my hair out with the frustration.I hate waiting,but time makes us wait.
Why can’t we control time? Make things happen sooner than they actually do? There are so many things that I wish would happen like yesterday, but NO, I have to wait for the right time. I also imagine how fast the time moves when I don’t want my alarm to go off in the morning; 20 minutes snooze time feels like 5 minutes. And I also think back to the many times I wished the day would just finish already so that I could crawl back into my warm bed after work…time would go by so slowly that I could literally hear that tick-tock sound on the clock. I hardly hear that sound when I am not paying attention to the time.
So today (after much reflection) I begrudgingly conclude that I am a slave to time. Time has us wrapped around its finger and we can do nothing, but wait for it. I know God sets the seasons and times for everything and with that, He made it impossible for us mortals to have any control over time. Things happen when they are meant to happen; day will turn into night and dawn will come at the set time…and this will continue to happen until the end of time…(I think).
What does this mean? This means we have to find ways to adapt, find ways to use time wisely. That 24 hours in a day, pack in as much as you can in it and if you do not complete everything try again the next day. It is so tiring because it goes on and on until I don’t know when. And those of us who have too many hours in their day *side eye*, let us find a way to fill that time because one day we may not have that privilege.
In my case, I believe I just made good use of my time writing this blog about time. And I believe if you have enjoyed reading this blog, you have made good use of your time too.
I used to write…so freely and with pride, I would let my words fill a page. I took it for granted that my words would always flow so freely.
I used to write…about anything my mind pondered upon, my reflections, dreams and thoughts. I always thought these would always be available.
When I used to write, my mind was innocent. I was just a writer, wanting to share with whoever cares to read. I wrote for the lovers of the written word. I always thought this passion would always bring me back when I lose my way.
What happens to passion that is not allowed to grow? Passion that is controlled or tamed… Real passion or love is supposed to be beyond control, released or felt with wild abandon.
For the first time I felt my passion fading slowly. It slipped through me and I held on to it with all my might, but it was being pulled from me violently.
My love for writing was no longer a freedom I could enjoy. How could I when I was no longer free?
My mind could no longer be freely expressed, my words strangled by censorship…both my own and that of the world around me. I allowed conformity to distort my free will.
When you can no longer write what you feel, what your eyes behold and what your beliefs may be, then what is there to write about?
When there is too much going on around you to the point that you cannot pick a single point of focus…to the writer’s mind it is anarchy, it is a destructive force, killing creativity and passion.
When you can no longer be objective, for who can write from the heart and write lies?
I lost my passion for writing until I remembered that I used to write…
I remembered why I used to write and why it meant so much to me and to my world.
And my passion could no longer be tamed or controlled!!!