Among the few gifts I received on my birthday, an anonymous person sent me a gift card in which they asked:
Do you get scared?
How do you manage to do all that you do?
Do you have friends who could die for you?
How do you deal with yourself?
I do not know the person. I have never met them before. They said they have interacted with me through my writing, and that they think they could learn one or two things from me. Do I get such messages often? No. I don’t. But I have come to understand that within my heart, lies a soft spot that beats to the rhythm of such kind words, especially about my writing.
So, here is what I picked from my mind about the questions they asked. Hopefully, they read this.
1.Do I get scared?
Yes. I get scared more often that you would think. Sometimes, I tend to think for a person my age, I get scared too much. But then again, there is never a limit to what we should or should not feel. There is never a reason to hold ourselves back from feeling the things that bother us.
I get scared by the things I really want to do, and those I am trying to do. Like finding my way through the darkest of abysses. Like reading through books that carry a lot of weight; books that speak about me in ways I wouldn’t want anyone else to know. I get scared every time I close the books because I am too afraid of the truth.
I am scared about the secrets that my body tries too hard to hide; scared that someday, it will let loose.
I get scared of the future, because sometimes it seems so bleak. Because there is so much I really want to do, and it scares me that the future is already here with me, yet the things I would like to hold so dear to me are way out of reach. I am scared that one day, I will wake up to an empty room full of voids, noises, voices, crap and homelessness.
I am scared that someday, I will walk up to the younger version of myself, trying to forgive her, or understand her, or hear her out. Or look at her from a different pair of lenses. I am scared that when I finally do that, she will walk away without saying a word, because silence has become the weapon she uses when she runs out of strength.
I get scared by the ghosts from my past and present which have refused to let me go. Or those which back down, only to strike back when I am a few steps shy of my healing.
I am scared of the vastness of the universe, and how with each passing day, there continues to emerge a newness too huge for me to comprehend.
2.How do I manage to do all that I do?
Most days, I lack the strength to even get up from bed. But then, there is life to be lived. There are jokes to be laughed at. There are truths to be told. There are people to be loved. There are messages to be read. Clothes to be worn. Necks to be broken. There is a whole lot of things to be done, and the only thing that makes me spring to my feet is the Fear of Missing Out.
So yeah, as much as fear is on most occasions termed a bad thing, it is the one thing that makes me do what I do.
It is not much which I do; Juggling between work and freelance writing, hunting down clients, forcing others to pay their dues, errands here and there and of course, listening to my dad who keeps saying, “Sasa kizungu nyingi ni ya nini na ni mimi nilikupeleka shule?” :-)
Most importantly though, I have people around me who never fail to remind me that I am important. People who text me asking if I made it safely to work. People who ask why this blog is idle. People who reach out to say thank you because they read my book, and it changed something about the way they perceived book.
I have people around me, like my mum, who call to ask whether I am safe. Whether I have eaten. People like my personal home who take their time to ask whether I had a good laugh. Whether I feel excited. Whether I am comfortable. Or at home. Or hungry. People who take their time to push me just a little farther.
3.Do I have friends who would die for me?
I would rather they asked whether I have friends I could die for. Because as much s I am not able to deeply understand other people’s intentions, I am clear about mine. So do I have friends I would die for?
Honestly, die is such a strong word. But yeah, there is a couple of my friends I would go out of my way to help them out in case they need it. Do I expect anything in return? No.
I have learnt to give unconditionally. I have learnt, though, to limit my unconditional giving only to people who know me well enough, that they wont feel indebted thereafter. People who will not feel the urge to bring up the issue every time they meet me because in one way or another, they feel they should do it. People who wont feel the need to say yes to everything I ask of them thereafter.
Yes, I have two or three friends on my list who I would bail out without asking them how they got there in the first place, and we would laugh about the misery the next day like nothing happened.
I have failed at a lot of friendships. I have been absent when they needed me more, sometimes out of selfish reasons. I have refused to go out with them. I have refused to engage in small talks just because they are my friends,. Most importantly, I have failed at most of my friendships because I occasionally fall back to myself; because I put myself first even in instances where I shouldn’t.
I have come a long way in realizing not all friendships are meant to stay. Some are designed to last only if handled from a distance. Some only thrive when we do not talk for quite sometime. Some only belong to the trash can because well, I am not everyone’s cup of tea.
So to the few ones who understand how hard it is to stick around with me; who understand how long a thorn I am in their flesh; I would do anything in my capacity for them.
4.How do I deal with myself?
I talk to myself. I talk to myself out of all the things that threaten my peace. I talk to myself whenever I feel lost. Or vulnerable. Or overwhelmed.
I talk to myself whenever I fail, and encourage myself to try over and over again. Or when I win, and I need to calm down my nerves.
I am slowly coming into terms with my bad habits.I have stopped expecting anything from anyone. I have stopped using my pain to blackmail others. I still ignore my phone calls all the times. I leave people on read and don’t even feel bad about it. I am learning to ask for help whenever I need one.
I am struggling to get out of my comfort zones and into my safe spaces.
I am taking in slow breathes, and watching as my chest falls. I am understanding that healing is a process that takes quite some time
Above all. I am genuinely happy. I am laughing on most days from the bottom of my heart. I am sleeping like a baby. I have people around me who have taken it upon themselves to ensure I am at peace. People who show me lot of love and tenderness.
I am at peace with myself.