The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Archive for the category “Just me”

Your song

Your song, so haunting

Barefaced emotions it’s flaunting

And though it’s your love I’m wanting

The prospect is too daunting.

 

Your lyrics, they draw me in

Stir up a storm within

Send my heart into a tailspin

Tempt me sore to give in.

 

Your dulcet tones seduce

They call for a truce

Provide the perfect excuse

For my heart to let loose.

 

Your melody tugs at my heartstrings

In that place where heart break stings

From where hope springs

And dreams sprout wings.

 

Now you’ve got me right where you want me

I’m giving in to your desperate plea

Your promises of things that could be

When you and I finally become We.

 

This poem was inspired by Sam Smith’s beautifully haunting song, Latch.

It’s been three weeks

It’s been three weeks since I was driving and singing along to the radio when I got the call. Today I’m driving back from the gym. Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ is playing. It’s a tune I love. My boys love it too. When it comes on at home, we crank up the volume and break out in a happy dance. But I am alone now. I do not have to put up a happy front for the children. I cannot clap along. Because I’m not happy. Yes, I do feel like a room without a roof. But it is raining and I am getting drenched in grief and loss as the rain mingles with my tears. The room is flooding with memories of when he was here. He was just here. I know that happiness is the truth but it is not my truth right now. I want to be happy but I am not. I cannot be. This loss is too huge, too painful to be lifted by the lyrics of an upbeat song.

It’s been three weeks. My older son points out that people are no longer coming to visit. Not like the steady stream we had when we first heard the news. I nod and agree with him. I want to tell him that that’s the way life works. It goes on. I want to say that though people care, life must carry on. That even though this was a monumental shift in our paradigm, it was just a momentary blip in that of our friends, interrupting their lives albeit ever so briefly. I want to tell him that even though they may not be physically present, we are in their thoughts and prayers. But I don’t. It is too much to burden a 7-year old with. My decision proves right when our conversation segues into sharing memories about Granddad. He and his brother talk about how Granddad was so funny, how he laughed and made them laugh. I am sad but I smile. I am glad that in spite of the fact that he is gone, they have happy memories of their grandfather.

It’s been three weeks. I am forgetful and absent-minded, apathetic and lethargic. I forgot to attend my appointment with the dentist. I forgot to take my younger son to the dentist. I forgot to change the calendar page from January to February. It is like I am frozen in time. As if I cannot move beyond those heart-stopping minutes three weeks ago.

It’s been three weeks. And It’s been hard. I have tried to carry on because that’s what he would have wanted. But it’s been hard. Sometimes I am able to function normally because in doing so, I’m almost able to convince myself that it didn’t happen. That the pain I feel in my chest is imaginary. Other times, everything in me bucks at normal because life isn’t normal and I want everything to stop and acknowledge that it isn’t.

It’s been three weeks since I decided to go back home. My other home. The one I grew up in. I think of my trip and I begin to get excited. I look forward to getting together with the whole family. To being in the same room as all my sisters. To the raucous laughter as we regale and remind each other with and of tales of our escapades. To catching up on news of everyone and what they have been up to since we’ve been apart.

But then I remember why I am making the trip. And grief shoos the excitement out of my soul. I am going back home because my daddy died. I am going back home but I won’t be seeing my dad. And that hurts. Badly.

My Daddy was just here

Sometimes, it’s the inane nature of things that foretells what is about to happen. Yet it is the very inanity that lulls us into a false sense of security, the irony of it all hitting us only after the event. Hindsight is indeed 20-20 vision.

Usually, life is a series of mind-numbing activity. Stuff we could do in our sleep. Every now and again something breaks up the routine. Sometimes the break is welcome. Other times, it is an unwanted intruder.

This is one of those times. This break is so incongruous with the routine that precedes it, nothing I have known before quite prepares me. So that when I get that phone call, the one where my younger sister is crying frantically, breathing heavily and calling out my name repeatedly. I know it’s bad. Really, really bad.

I search for the rewind button. I want to live life in reverse. To turn back the clock. Go back to the morning when I wake up and it’s Saturday. A regular Saturday in the Ivara household. Football. Homework. Cleaning. Getting ready to go to my friend’s baby shower. Driving. Singing along to Heart FM.

But no matter how many times I replay it, I always end up at that moment where I get the phone call. The one where my younger sister is crying frantically, breathing heavily and calling out my name repeatedly and I know it’s bad. Really, really bad.

My breath catches. I ask her to repeat what she has just said. I hear her the first time but I convince myself that I could not have heard her right. She says it again. And again. And again.

“Daddy is dead.”

How can he be dead? He was just here. It’s been 10,080 minutes. One week since Daddy was here. In my home. Sitting in what my boys call ‘Granddad’s chair’. Now, she is telling me he is gone. How can that be? I can see him here. Pottering around. Repacking his and mum’s luggage. Drinking Moringa tea at the dining table. Roughhousing with the boys, telling them he was going back to ‘Naija’. Surely this is a joke. But I know it is not. I know the moment I answer the phone and hear my sister crying. I know that life, as I used to know it, is changed forever.

My hands start to shake. My breath comes in short bursts. My lungs are burning from the effort of taking in air. I start to cry. How can this be? It can’t be true.

It’s been three days since I got that phone call. I have repeated that phrase ‘Daddy is dead’ over and over again. I roll the words around in my mouth, whisper them, say them out loud, say them in my head. They still feel mismatched, like they don’t belong together in the same sentence.

It feels like something has been forcefully wrenched out of its place and I have been left with an open, gaping wound. There is this huge lump in my chest. Try as I might, I just cannot shift it. Unshed tears. It is hard to believe there are any left after all the ones I have cried.

I look around the house and think, he was just here. My Daddy was just here…

How do you measure a year?

It is the end of the year 2013. A year. A measurement of time. How do you measure a year? Twelve months? Fifty-two weeks? Three hundred and sixty-five days? Eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty hours? Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes? I am choosing to measure mine in friendships.

Some friends visited a few days ago. They brought us flowers. White lilies, still in their buds. I put them in a vase with some water. Lilies 1Since then, they have slowly been unfurling into full bloom. They remind me of some of Jesus’ words in the famous Sermon on the Mount.

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…” Matthew 6:27- 29.

I have been ruminating about friendships. When it comes to making friends, I tend to dive right in. A few interactions with someone are enough to convince me to forge ahead in pursuing a friendship with them. Sometimes, my impulsiveness pays off and deep, lasting friendships are formed. Other times, I get my fingers bitten and realise that I have been naive and presumptuous.

Friends can be gifts, filling your space with joy and energy. Like well-tended plants. But here is the thing, I am not green-fingered. Plants do not thrive in my hands. I seem to have come wired with the ability to wither the hardiest of plants. Yet, I appreciate their beauty.

Some plants are delicate and need a lot of attention, watering, weeding, pruning. Others are robust, rugged. They thrive with little or no input.

Some friendships require a little more nurturing, regular contact, phone calls, emails, texts etc. They may not die off without these but they certainly do not do as well as with them.

Then there are those friendships like climbing plants. They need a framework to grow on.  Their stems possess little ability to bear any weight yet are very tensile and have considerable strength. This kind has the tendency to weigh you down, sapping your very essence, constantly taking, hardly ever giving.

Yes, friendship is a bit like plants. Some spring up as soon as you meet. A connection is made and weathering every storm, the friendship thrives and grows stronger, irrespective of distance, space and long absences. A garden is all the more beautiful for having different kinds of plants in it.

I have been blessed by the gift of different kinds of friendship. These beautiful plants that brighten the garden of my life with bold splashes of colour.

And so, as 2013 draws to an end, here, my dear friends, here’s to you, to those who have gone ahead and to our friendship!

Seasons of Love” is a song from the Broadway musical Rent, written and composed by Jonathan Larson. This cover is from the third episode of the fifth season of Glee, The Quarterback, as a tribute to Cory Monteith and his character Finn Hudson.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

Christmas eve

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Clement Clarke Moore.

Coach trip and catfish

I’m taking a coach ride with a group of 7 – 9 year olds. S is working on her Times Tables using a Hundred Square. I ask her a few questions and she struggles a bit but eventually works out the answers. 100squareF pipes up that she can do hers without the Hundred Square so I start to quiz her. True to her word, she does and gets every question right with nary a delay.

Two of the boys, G and O, ask me when the television was invented. I don’t know so I tell them exactly that. Then they ask when colour TV was invented. Again, I’m not sure of this and tell them as much. They tell me that the reason they ask is because they want to know when the first Bond movie was made. That I know so I tell them it was the very early 1960s. Knowing this makes me feel positively ancient.

They tell me that they love James Bond, name the movies they’ve watched and why they like each. We talk about some of the scenes in the movies. I have a hard time remembering which scene is in which movie but they have no such problem. We take a break from our conversation as we arrive at our destination.

As the children queue to get back on the coach, O sidles up to me and asks if he can sit next to me again. I am touched. I smile and tell him of course he can. We talk about other movies we like. I tell him I love animation. I discover that we both share a love for Despicable Me. O tells me he also enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph. I tell him that the characters in the movie are all from computer games, some of which I played as a child. M nods excitedly and tells me her mum used to play Pac-Man as a child and has it on her iPad now. O is intrigued. Then he says he’ll download Sugar Rush to his mum’s iPad when he gets home.

Eventually the conversation comes round to books. O tells me he has about 200 books, half of which are fact books and the other, ‘chapter’ books. I ask him to share some interesting facts from some of his books. He cannot remember any. So I prompt him by asking if he knows any fun facts about fish. He immediately perks up and tells me that catfish are poisonous. I gulp. I think about the catfish thawing on my worktop at home right at that moment. The same catfish I intend to marinate in spices, steam and then introduce to a pot of Afang soup. So I tell him I don’t think all catfish are poisonous, that I eat them. His eyes pop out, you eat them? he asks. I nod. He looks like he’s unsure whether to take me seriously or not. Before he can probe further, he gets distracted by the excited chatter of the other kids. We are nearing our final destination.

Afang with catfishI have just finished a bowl of my soup and I’m still here. Proof that catfish aren’t poisonous. Perhaps the next time I see O, I will tell him I had catfish for dinner. Or not. Open-mouthed smile

All in a day’s life: Lost and found

It is a fairly innocuous start to the day. The overcast sky promises rain and the wind causes a slight chill but I ignore them. Instead I choose to put my trust in the meteorologists’ forecast for sunshine and dress myself and my boys in shorts and light t-shirts. Hours later, my choice is vindicated as the sun comes out in all its brilliance.

The drive is smooth. Metal and tar maintain a healthy respect for each other, both playing their part and working in perfect harmony as cars drive along miles of motorway. The satellite navigation system, determined to guide me via the fastest route, keeps advising an alternative route. After resisting for several junctions and staying my course, I allow myself be seduced by its mellifluous tones and turn off the motorway. When I see the ‘Road Ahead Closed’ sign, I am reminded how I have become so dependent on computers. I sigh and make a U-turn, the 10 miles I thought I would shave off our travel time have actually doubled making the journey even longer. The boys start to fret. Is their day at the theme park over before it has even started? I reassure them that it is ok. I will retrace my steps and get us back on track.

I breathe a sigh of relief as I pull into the car park. This SatNav will not be the death of me. Laden with bags of nourishment, enough to feed three large families for a few days, we walk towards the entrance. A mule would be hard pressed to carry as much as we are lugging around but I will not be caught out by the exploitative over-priced food at such places. I am already regretting packing so much, perhaps I went a bit overboard.  But there is no time for self-recrimination, what’s done is done and I get on with it. We meet up with friends. The load is distributed around, though not evenly, I don’t complain. I am just thankful for a bit of help carrying those bags which have become increasingly heavier with each step.

Several roller-coaster rides, lunch, snack and toilet breaks later, we are all spent. It has been fun; it is time to go home. But not before a quick stop at the shop to buy the swords I promised the boys.

Swords chosen, shields, not part of the original deal, have somehow wound their way into the shopping basket. I am about to protest but I am loath to be responsible for wiping off the looks of delight on their small faces. The shields stay.

“I need the toilet, Mummy. I’m bursting.”

“But just five minutes ago, you said you didn’t need the toilet.”

“I didn’t then, I do now.”

This is not the time for my spiel about ‘going to the toilet when I ask you to’. I hand his little brother over to my friend and then make a dash for the toilet. He is seven years old. He feels he is old enough to go to the Men’s toilet. I am not comfortable with that. I have heard and read about terrible things happening to children in toilets. I do not want my child to become one of those statistics. I know I cannot protect him forever but for now, it is the Ladies’ where I can go in with him. Today, there is a queue snaking out the door of the Ladies’. And he is desperate.

There is no queue at the Men’s. He is starting to hop from foot to foot as if he is playing hopscotch. I shelve my apprehension and send him to the Men’s. It is just a Number One, he will be in and out in no time. As he runs in, I go as close to the entrance as I possibly can without actually going in, ignoring the pointed looks of some of the men going in. While waiting, I whip my phone out of my pocket. I haven’t managed to catch up on social media all day. I tap the screen to get the phone out of sleep mode. It does not respond. My battery is dead. Shaking my head, I sigh at the fickleness of these newfangled phones designed to be all things to all men – but without the battery power to sustain all those functions.

I put the phone back in my pocket and begin to wonder why he is taking so long. I cannot go into the Men’s toilet to check up on him. This is why I prefer him going to the Ladies’. My heart skips a beat. I take a deep breath and caution myself not to panic. This is just a minor misunderstanding which will soon be cleared up. I move even closer to the door and call out his name. The loud humming of several hand dryers drowns out my calls. I yell even louder and listen out for a response. There is none. None except strange stares from men exiting the toilet. I stop a man going in with his kids and ask him to please look for my son. I tell him his name. And then I wait.

He comes out soon after to tell me that having checked all stalls, there is no sign of my child. Now, my heart beat really races. Blood rushes to my head and for a moment my vision blurs. I blink several times to clear my vision. Enough with propriety already! I walk in, hardly noticing the startled looks of men doing their business in urinals. When calling out his name a few more times yields no response, I could swear my heart drops to the bottom of my belly.

Exiting the toilet, my mind is churning. I remember that it was just a few days ago I had a chat with him and his brother about keeping safe. They had run off from me at a large supermarket. Yet again. When we got back in the car, I painstakingly explained to them about the many dangers of not staying close to me while out. I told them that not everyone has a good heart and some want to harm children. I told them about the little girl who had disappeared from her parents’ side at a similar supermarket; how they raised the alarm, how the staff looked everywhere in the store, how she was eventually found in the toilets, head shorn by her would-be kidnappers in order to disguise her appearance and take her out unnoticed.

My mind shifts back to the present. Is this now what is happening to me? The thoughts are so confusing, my head hurts. Where could he be? Is there a back door? Could someone have dragged him out through there? What do I do next? Alert the authorities? As the questions and different scenarios tumble around my head, I look around hoping to spy him in the sea of humans milling around. Instead all I see are eyes. Eyes of other parents, looking at me.

In those few seconds, I read the emotions they can barely hide in their eyes. Pity, empathy, censure, relief. As they clutch their own children, holding them close, their tactile gestures giving double assurance that their own offspring are safe, their eyes tell me that they feel my pain. They tell me they can appreciate what I must be going through, that they cannot tell me how sorry they are that this has happened to me. They don’t want to tell me that they are relieved it happened to me and not them, but their eyes cannot hide how they really feel. Finally, I see the censure, the unspoken questions. How could I have been so careless? Why didn’t I take him to the Ladies’? Why let him go into the Men’s on his own?

I want to tell them that I am not that parent. Not me. No. I am not that parent whose child goes missing. I want to tell them how many times I have read these kinds of stories and, like them, I too wondered what the parent was doing when their child went missing. I want to say to them that I too have asked how it was possible for a child to go missing under the watchful eye of its parent? I want to tell them that I always insist my boys go to the Ladies’ for precisely this reason. I want to tell them all of this. But I have bigger fish to fry. I cannot find my son.

I make my way to the Information booth to report him missing. I take out my phone to call my friend and let her know what is going on. The battery is still dead. My throat hurts from unshed tears. I want to scream about the injustice of this situation in which I find myself. I drink in deep breaths to keep myself from falling in a heap on the ground and wailing.

It suddenly occurs to me to check the shop first. He might have come out, slipped past me unnoticed and headed straight for the shop where his newly acquired sword and shield awaited him. I quickly change course and jog to the shop. The sight of him wielding his ‘weapons’ renders me immobile with gratitude. A silent prayer of thanksgiving escapes my lips just before I bear down on him. My relief and gratitude come out as a tirade, berating him for running off without me. Lips trembling, he apologises. Like a pin prick deflates a balloon, the apology dispels my anger. I pull him to me and envelope him in a hug. I tell him it is ok, Mummy was just worried he was missing that’s why she yelled. I remind him not to ever run off again, that it could prove dangerous.

Drained, physically and emotionally, we head for home. The boys doze off in the back and I mull over the day. My thoughts are drawn to how easily this day could have ended differently, how a different sequence of events could have brought about a tragedy of immense proportions. I think back to how I felt in those few minutes when I couldn’t find my son. How utterly helpless and small in the huge machine of life. I think of all the other emotions I experienced simultaneously; guilt, anger, frustration. I think how easily my family could have been devastated and how the trajectory of our lives could have been irretrievably altered. I think of all the families that have been in this situation, how it didn’t necessarily end up the way mind did. As I think, I experience a greater appreciation for the blessings I have been conferred with. Things could so easily have been different. So tragically different.

They call me Mummy

Throbbing feet. Languid, aching bones. I feel the start of a headache coming on. But I won’t stop until it’s all done. The cooking. The cleaning. The picking up and putting away of little clothes, shoes, toys and books. The laundry. And all the other chores that make the home appear to run seamlessly.

Wincing in pain, I reach into the medicine cupboard and pop two analgesics into my mouth. I’m exhausted beyond words. I long for my bed. Or even a sofa. And a stool to prop my feet up and take a load off. Downtime. I’m almost there. The light at the end of tunnel is getting brighter. Just a couple more chores.

Super mumI stand back and survey the works of my hands. I take in the clean kitchen, tidy living room, bedrooms with made beds and everything in its place. Finally. I’m done. Dear sofa, here I come. As I make to lower myself into the waiting arms of the sofa and the stool sends my feet a ‘come hither’ look, “Mummy, please can we go to the park?”

Two tiny voices. Two earnest facial expressions. Doe-eyed, hopeful, expectant, barely concealed anticipation. “Please, Mama, we really, really, really want to.” One with hands clasped, the other tugs on my skirt. “We’ll be good, we promise. Please.”

I look at my sofa. With longing. I turn to the boys. They look at me. With longing. My aching bones creak in protest. My throbbing feet feel like my heart has relocated from my rib cage and made its new home there. That onset of a headache is now a full-blown splitting one. Everything in me is kicking against considering this request, much less granting it. On the tip of my tongue are a thousand and one reasons to say no. I quash them.

“Ok but we won’t stay very long…” Their screams of joy drown out the rest of my words. ‘I’m tired’ doesn’t get heard much less acknowledged. They are already putting on their shoes and arming themselves with all the paraphernalia that make for a successful park outing. Footballs, frisbees and food. Now dancing at the front door, giggling in excitement, waiting to be let out.

I look at the sofa again. Its forlorn gaze meets mine. But it understands. I am a mum. And this is what mums do. Tired is nothing when you have children.

At the lakes

 

People who insert themselves into other people’s moments.

I thought long and hard about an appropriate title for this post and all I could come up with was this one which reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest novel, Americanah. Ifemelu, the protagonist, maintains a blog called, “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black” and her post titles are equally as long. Ifemelu’s blog became so popular, it earned her a decent sum of money and invitations to speak at events. Perhaps this is the way forward, long titles. Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to something much longer. What do you think of ‘The thoughts, words, love and life of a vacansopapurosophobic logophile’? Nah! I think I’ll stick with ‘The Wordsmythe’s Weblog’.

So what does this post have to do with Ifemelu? Not much besides the length of its title. It’s more to do with something I’ve observed over and over again.

You’ve had a really bad day. You call a friend to tell them all about it in the hope that they’ll say something to cheer you up. The words are hardly out of your mouth before, they butt in and start to tell you about the time they had an even worse day than yours.

You’re at a social gathering, making small talk with a group of strangers. To break the ice, you share an anecdote about something that happened to you. As the others laugh politely, someone else picks up the story and recounts a similar experience, their telling of it rendering yours inconsequential compared to theirs.

Someone is congratulating you about some great achievement you’ve accomplished but you can’t get a word in edgeways. They want to tell you all about their own achievement which makes yours appear much smaller in comparison.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Have you been at the receiving end? Or are you guilty of doing this?

butting_goatsSome people seem to have this compulsive need to rewrite you out of your story and insert themselves as the protagonist. They are adept at photobombing your photos. There is nothing that you have experienced that they haven’t, and to a greater degree too. There is no sorrow, no joy, no tragedy, no triumph that can be yours alone without them somehow being in the picture. It can be frustrating to have your moment taken over by someone else particularly when they aren’t currently experiencing the emotions you are at the time.

People who do this just won’t let you have your moment of whatever it may be at the time – sorrow, pain, exasperation, success, failure etc. It’s like a competition for them. I couldn’t say for sure if the culprits are aware they do it but that doesn’t excuse them. If they are, it makes them conniving and manipulative. If they aren’t, it still makes them self-centred and a bit narcissistic. I also think it is selfish and inconsiderate to always make everything about oneself.

Everyone needs space and time for expression. It fuels esteem which is a basic human need. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. We each need to feel that we are worth being listened to and heard, that what we have to say is important, if not to the whole world, definitely to a couple of people. And we are each entitled to have a moment or two all to ourselves without being forced to share it with someone else irrespective of whether they have or have had a similar moment. Sometimes just having someone listen to us is all that is required to feel better, to get a better perspective and/or to find the strength to carry on.

interrupting1So the next time someone calls you to talk about their rotten or great day, restrain yourself from shoving them off the stage and jumping on with your own monologue. It’s their moment, don’t try to make it yours.The next time someone’s recounting of an anecdote reminds you of a similar experience, rein yourself in from butting in. Let them have their moment. Don’t steal their thunder. It’s rather annoying.

Rant over.

Tara for now.

Images Courtesy of Google

 

 

 

 

Of Omphaloskepsis and Vacansopapurosophobia

My last post was in May. The reasons for this are myriad, some cogent and valid, others less so. The longer I left updating, the harder it got. Many times, I would think up some blog-worthy topic and start to write it in my head but soon enough I convinced myself that it didn’t possess enough oomph for a dramatic comeback and let it go where good ideas go to die (is there a hospice for good ideas?).

Truth is I’m just fed up of that feeling I have when I have left something I should do undone. It’s not a feeling I like to feel but I can’t help feeling it when I feel it (you feel me?Open-mouthed smile). It’s like a dull ache at the back of my head reminiscent of a scrawny, flee-covered dog that keeps rubbing against your leg, looking up at you doe-eyed and which, just won’t go away till you throw it a few scraps of food to sate its hunger. Extremely irritating. So this is me getting rid of that dog feeling. I make no promises as to the ‘oomphness’ but this I can say for sure, this post will be completed and updated today – today being whatever day I actually complete it Open-mouthed smile.

While indulging in copious amounts of navel-gazing about not writing, by the way did you know that the term ‘navel-gazing’ comes from ‘Omphaloskepsis’ which is the contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation? Eww! Who does that? According to Wikipedia, it is done in the practice of yoga in Hinduism. Hmm, who knew? However I use ‘navel-gazing’ in the more common and jocular manner to mean self-absorption. Anyway, while I was mulling over my inability to write, I tried to narrow down the reason so that I could get rid of it. I went through a list of possibilities including;

  • The challenges of everyday life
  • Writers’ block
  • The distractions of social media, books, etc
  • The unofficial leave of my Muse 

This list is by no means exhaustive but while all of the above are, to some degree, responsible for my not writing, they cannot take all the blame. I came to the conclusion that real culprit is something else, something I had not previously considered but, which when it came to me, made so much sense. And it is (cue drum roll) vacansopapurosophobia or something close. What on earth is that? I hear you ask. It’s quite a mouthful, I know, but be patient, my friend, all shall be revealed in good time.

I kept wondering why in spite of having all those brilliant ideas, every time I opened up a new document to start writing, I would struggle to actually commit them to paper or shall I say, computer screen. It turns out it was because of my reluctance to ruin a perfect blank page with what I considered sub-standard writing. You see, vacansopapurosophobia is the fear of a blank page which, technically, I don’t have. It’s not the fear of the blank page per se but a fear of not doing it the justice it deserves. The endless possibilities this blank canvas presents, the unharnessed potential of things that could be brought to life on this untainted surface and the awareness that what you write on it may truncate its destiny for greatness. It is this weighty responsibility that can be just as crippling as it is exciting. This wanting to do right by the page yet doubting your ability to actually do so. Who wants to be responsible for prematurely terminating another’s destiny?

Since I am always going to have to start out with a blank page, I need to confront this ‘fear’ and find a way to make it work for me. Courage, they say, is not the absence of fear, it is the acting, or the willingness, to act in spite of it. So this blog post is a tiny first step in trying to overcome it. Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

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