RSS

Category Archives: HIS-story

Kinstukuroi: Finding beauty in brokeness

When I set to write my last blog post the plan was to write about something more meaningful, personal and that would require a certain degree of vulnerability.  That clearly didn’t happen. Instead I ended up going off on a tangent the result of which was me writing about my somewhat trivial fascination with Japanese culture. In that post I tried to give a background and offered up my reasons/justifications for said fascination.  To be entirely honest at the time it was just easier to write about something less emotionally taxing. But now that I have allowed myself that diversion I am going to once again make a more concerted effort to actually write on what initially planned to write about. So here goes.

Take Two…

Almost five years ago I was the victim of a near fatal stabbing that left me hospitalised for almost two months. During that hospitalisation I underwent what was to be a life saving surgery on my right leg. The story behind my stabbing is something I will not go into in this blog as I have written about it previously on this blog. During that vicious attack I had been stabbed on the inner thigh of my right leg. Because the vein in my leg had been lacerated by the attacker’s knife sides I has been losing large volumes of blood. The purpose of the surgery was to try and repair my vein as well as stop the life threatening blood loss. Whilst my surgeons managed to successfully to stop the bleeding and replenish my blood supply they were unable to successful repair my lacerated vein. As a result they were forced to tie it up, the consequence of which was that it essentially became useless to my body.

After the surgery I spent about a week in the Intensive Care Unit recuperating. It was here whilst drifting in and out of consciousness that I first noticed the massive wound that was still very much open even after the surgery. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the sedatives I was on that were making me hallucinate. When I was eventually weaned off the sedatives I was able to confirm that yes indeed my open wound was so hollow I could have literally put my fist in it comfortably. I recall being baffled by the stitches that appeared on both sides of the open wound and wondering why I hadn’t been fully closed up. Starring at my own insides was proof of how close I had come to death. That didn’t stop me from struggling to accept that as my doctors had put it ‘my surgery had gone as well as it could have considering the circumstances.’ They explained to me that they had only partially stitched me up and left the area around the knife’s entry point open to allow the wound to heal naturally. Since I had some flesh removed in the attempts to repair my vein, it was impossible for them to stitch me up completely. The wound had to fill out naturally.

Whilst I never voiced my concern at the time I could not imagine that gaping hole on my inner thigh ever closing up. I desperately wanted to beg my doctors to close me up, but I knew I was fortunate to be alive and I knew that my vanity was getting the better of me. Whilst I was dealing with all these conflicting emotions my doctors informed me that it would be weeks before I could feel any meaningful movement in my right leg. They were optimistic though that with time and a bit of physical therapy that could all change. At the time I don’t think it actually sank in that the doctors were basically telling me that there was a chance I would not be able to walk again. I was too preoccupied by my open wound which was a vulgar reminder of what happened to me.

Long story short, about three months after the surgery I was able to slowly start using my leg again. Not much longer after that my wound had fully closed up. I was reminded of this experience recently. I had been feeding my inner culture vulture when I came across about the Japanese art of Kinstukuroi.

Kintsukuroi: (n.) (v. phr.) “to repair with gold”; is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Kinstukuroi

When these pieces of pottery were originally crafted they were beautiful in their own right. They were crafted with care. They were functional. They were unique. But somehow they got broken. Perhaps they were treated carelessly, maybe even banged down on a table in anger. Or perhaps they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were mistakenly sent tumbling to the floor. Whatever happened, the pieces ended up strewn across the floor.

Instead of being deemed useless and being thrown away, these pieces were instead put back together using gold. And the result is not a piece of pottery that is returned to its original condition. The result of this repair work is a bowl that carries in itself the marks of the past. There is no hiding that it has been broken before. It is scarred. Rather than being concealed, the damage is celebrated and becomes a defining feature of the object. As a general rule, the repaired pottery acquires a far higher value and enjoys greater appreciation than it had in its previously undamaged state. It’s still the same bowl, and yet not the same, since it is now defined by a new, fresh aesthetic. A new beauty.

Even after my wound had healed I struggled and was embarrassed by the remaining scar. I was so ashamed of my scar that I became I would not allow myself to be physically intimate with anyone lest my hideous scar might turn them off when I was at my most vulnerable – with my pants down. This wasn’t only further exasperated by the fact that for weeks after my surgery I couldn’t recall having got an erection. Not even the mandatory morning glory. Nothing. To say that during those erectionless days I looked at my scar with contempt would be a gross understatement. I was convinced that something had gone horribly wrong and feared the worst. I self diagnosed and told myself that blood flow to that part of my body had been become restricted. That had to be the explanation. Turns out it was all in my head. I was physically fine if not psychologically so.

Anyway it took me a very long time before I started seeing any form of beauty in that scar. But as with most things in life I eventually became more philosophical about my whole experience. Slowly I started appreciating it as a defining feature on my person. A feature that would time and again through all the other challenges that life would continue throwing at me served as a reminder that I was a survivor.

Another consequence of my surgery was that I now faced a greater risk of developing blood clots. These blood clots could potentially be fatal if they made it to my heart. And the time immediately after the surgery was the period of greatest risk, although I would always be at greater than I was previously for the rest of my life. When I was immobile for the first three months post surgery I was on blood thinners as a precautionary measure. But after I regained use of my leg I was encouraged to become more physically active as a more natural way of reducing the risk of blood clots developing again.

Because of this I had no choice but to be consistently more physically active than I had been before. Just over a year after I was stabbed I was in the better shape than I had been before the stabbing. I finally got the all clear to make the 18 hour flight home from Melbourne to Harare.  This is a trip I had wanted to make immediately after the stabbing but that my Doctor had refused to sanction as such a long haul flight in the physical condition would have almost definitely resulted in blood clots flaring up again. But after a year he felt I was now in good enough physical condition that my body I could make the flight without any serious consequences to my health.

Whilst my parents had visited I hadn’t seen my siblings in almost 7 years so you can imagine my excitement and relief. My doctor made it clear that because that I had become more physically active than I had been before I had improved the circulation of my blood naturally and as a result reduced my risk of developing blood clots. Over the years I have tried to maintain an active lifestyle and have even challenged myself to do things that my pre stabbing self wouldn’t have necessarily done. In the process I have managed to tick of some activities of my bucket list. I have hiked up as well as abseiled off Table Mountain. I have also bungee jumped off the Victoria Falls Bridge. These are just some of the things that are I know are a direct result of that brokenness I experienced.

It is with the power of hindsight that I have only started to acknowledge how that whole episode in my life made me into a better person than I was before or could have possibly been without it. It is now possible for me to appreciate and express gratitude for this brokenness and this new beauty. My life is so much richer for it now. And it also turns chicks actually dig scars … winning!

Written by Tafadzwa Tichawangana

Advertisements
 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 1, 2014 in HIS-story

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Keep Calm and Carry On

Its been a while since I last blogged. My excuse for not writing? Well, its basically the same excuse I have for not ‘living’ the last couple of weeks. I found myself continuously existing in a state of perfunctoriness. I fell in love with a hopeless place (Hi Rihanna *waves*). It all started with what at the time seemed like an inconsequential flirtation, with that devil, the soul killer, Apathy. I didn’t care and I let her have her way with me. I was whipped. Soon enough she was talking about making our relationship official. The question’s started flying in left right, and centre. “Where are we heading with this?” “Do you love me?” Just like that I started caring. Just not about her. “I am sorry Apathy, its not you,eh…um … you see its me.” The self placating break up cliche. She cried but I could not stay to wipe her tears. I would not be chasing this particular waterfall. I loved myself more. I cared. (Bye Rihanna *waves*)

As with any post break up period I did the standard thing, reflected on the relationship. A postmortem of sorts. How is it that I had found myself so comfortable in a relationship with Apathy? How come I had become so ambivalent about the trajectory that my life was on?. I had not veered off on a tangent per se. Not yet, but I was an autopilot to a destination, the coordinates to which I doubt even Apathy knew. I needed to feel the thrill of flying manually again.

I wasn’t without my doubts though. I will admit it, there is a certain addictive quality to apathy and as you would expect I had to deal with the withdrawals that came with waning myself of it. Had I made the right call? Would I miss Apathy? It was in breaking up with Apathy that I had begun to feel again.Things mattered.I cared.I was alive.This was not the time for regrets. It was time to be strong. Time to move on. Firstly though I needed to re-evaluate, recalibrate and re-align myself with my dreams,ambitions and general sense of purpose and direction again.In the process I began to look around me, well more like over the other side of the fence, at my friends. I paid attention to how they had grown up. Some had started their own families, some were living or actively towards their own individual dreams. I wanted that.

I immediately felt embarrassment at comparing myself. I was angry and could feel myself turning green with envy. My inner Hulk getting harder and harder to suppress.It threatened to overwhelm and lead me on a downward spiral fueled by envy.In the process eroding my internal security and subsequently my self esteem.Thats the thing about envy,it almost always evolves into a melodrama filled with pain, pettiness and bitterness. Its roots firmly implanted in the lack of belief in the integrity of our own unique life path.

I think it was Michelangelo who said “Every block of sculptor has a statue inside it and it is the sculptors task to discover it” How well we do this will be our measurement. It shouldn’t matter what the other person is doing with their block of stone. The statue that each person is liberating is one of their own intentions. How well I do with my own statue is my business.That will be my the focus. I had to remind myself of that.

Comparing yourself is not always all bad. Depending on how you channel it, it can be quite productive, especially if you’re inspired to emulate impressive traits or you are able to draw lessons from the experiences of others. My new mantra every time envy attacks will be, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” After all I have a master piece to finish.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” is tag line that was printed on a British propaganda poster campaign during WW2, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. It has since been resurrected back into popular culture. With people adopting it for their own personal wars. I choose to use it aggressively in waging my propaganda campaign against the green monster that is envy.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in HIS-story

 

Tags: , , ,

Pain Heals. Chicks Dig Scars. Glory Lasts Forever.

Its just after 2am on a September night in Melbourne. I find myself at my local sports bar in Toorak, watching the Manchester derby with fellow fanatics. We are united in our passion for the game,undeterred by the difference in time zones. A time difference , the consequence of which means we are huddled up in this sports bar at this ungodly hour on a Sunday. Even though the match is being played on a Sunday afternoon across the pond. Tonight, more than any other night though it has been worth it. The match has reached an unbelievable climax. Its a remarkable conclusion to an enthralling Manchester derby. Manchester City had looked to have snatched an unlikely point after coming from behind for the third time to level only seconds before the end of the 90 minutes. The board goes up, 4 minutes of injury time( popularly known amongst United’s detractors as “Fergie time”). Needless to say Michael Owen latches onto a sumptuous through ball from the evergreen Ryan Giggs and scores with was it to be last kick of the match. In the 6th minuteoif injury time. Pure Bliss.

The scene both on screen and in the bar is one of pure euphoria.The resulting hysteria is nothing short of intoxicating. This is embodied by Sir Alex Ferguson celebration. He sets off on an impromptu wild dance along the touchline. I mirror his celebration by partaking in an impromptu little jig and fist pumping of my own in the bar before joining the rest of the fanatics in a rendition of “Glory Glory Man United”. Shortly after I leave the sports bar, deciding to walk home which is 5 min away. In my state of euphoria as I often do I retreat to my own little world. Glory. I am preoccupied with updating my facebook status. I am keen to share my smugness , which is more pronounced than usual tonight given the manner in which we have won. Glory.

Next thing I know my back is against the wall. I am wearing a arrogant but slightly bemused smirk on my face. These two young Italian punks are demanding I hand over my wallet. The absurdity of the scene disarms me more than their demands. Who would have thought, me an African man, being robbed by two younger males of Italian descent. All this on a Sunday night in what is supposed of the safest suburbs in Melbourne. My brain races. My initial thoughts are, I can probably make a break for it.They would never catch me. They either read my mind or are peeved by my apparent lack of fear.That’s when I felt a warm fuzzy feeling in my inner thigh. In the camouflage of darkness I had not noticed the knife.The bastard had stabbed me dangerously close to my groin area. Shock settles in, wiping the smirk of my face. They steal my wallet. They try to grab my phone, I swing a punch in their direction rather feebly, before collapsing in a heap on the ground.They bolt. I resign myself to my fate. I am lying alone in the middle of the street , not a soul in sight.Could I be dying? I have never contemplated dying before. If I am really dying, how could it happen like this? Here. Now. On the pavement – in Toorak. I engage a fleeting image of my parents thought of my parents which is just as quickly  interrupted by thoughts of how stupid it would all be for my life to end this way.This is it. Things start becoming fuzzy, I m losing consciousness.I am gasping for air.A futile exercise.

The next thing I recall. My eyes are being assaulted by a bright light.The pearly gates perhaps? I try and recall the last time I saw the inside of a church. The memory is too distant. Before I can reach it, I am interrupted by a booming voice which promptly brings me back to earth. “How you going mate?. “Are you OK ?”. At that moment I recognise the source of the light. Its the policeman flashlight. I am lying on the side of the road drowning in a pool of my own blood. Blood is gushing out of my leg as if from a burst fire hydrant. My entire right leg is completely drenched in blood. Am I OK? Do I look OK? I think to myself. Before I get the chance to respond an Ambulance arrives on the scene and Paramedics rush to my aid. In between what look like exaggerated attempts to catch my breath I manage to draw on the little reserve of energy that I have. “I need morphine please, I am in pain” , I plead. No sooner have they hauled me onto the stretcher a taxi arrives on the scene.

To this day I can only imagine how my then girlfriend at the time felt. Oh what was going through her mind being confronted by that scene. The flashing lights.The blood. I can only imagine she was looking scared as hell as she made her way towards the Ambulance.In that moment it came back to me. How I had casually rang her and nonchalantly told her I had been robbed.Why I didn’t think to call 000 myself remains a mystery even to to this day. She later confided that when she arrived on the scene. She was pretty sure I was dead. Fortunately for me she had been more alert and rung emergency services. Who in turn rang me and managed to keep me conscious till their arrival. A quick instinctive chain of events that saved my life. For that I will eternally be indebted to her. She saved my life. Thank you. This was in 2009.

The present day
Last week I attended a reading for a book entitled , My Father, My Monster, by McIntosh Polela at the Centre of the book in Cape Town. My Father, My Monster is a memoir that The Sunday Independent newspaper referred to as being so painful it bleeds of the page. Now, to be honest I wasn’t particularity drawn to this book.In fact I had never even heard of the book prior to the reading.It just happened to be on the agenda for this particular Soirée. How did I come to be at the Centre of the book? Well since my protracted return from the writing wilderness, something I wrote about in my very first blog, I had started attending these Soiree’s. All in a concerted effort to surround myself with fellow writers as well as convince myself I was one of them. Ironically,as I was soon to discover it is during these soirées that I always find myself feeling less of a writer than I usually do when I m punching away at my laptop. I always feel like an amateur.(Well in truth I am), like everybody else there is better than me. Paranoia teases me relentlessly. As a result I m usually preoccupied with this nagging suspicion that someone will eventually find me out, and call me out on my little charade. In the process bringing attention to the fact that I am the literary equivalent of a vagrant painting on the side of a wall with a piece of calcified excrement. But I digress.

Let me get back to this particular Soirée. I am clearly no book reviewer or critic , no do wish to be one. There is a purpose in me sharing my literary excursions to the Centre of the Book. On this particularly day I was particularly moved by the author. His story struck a chord on a very intimate and personal level . The reading of excerpts from the book and the subsequent discussions that followed had stirred emotions that had been idle for a long time. Most significant if which was when the author detailed the effect that the process of writing the story had had.

My Father, My Monster is a story about how his mother was murdered by his father when he was just five years old, apparently because she had charged his father for sexual assault and had tried to flee. How even though he was found guilty of the murder , he served a suspended sentence and only spent a few weeks in jail.The author discusses how he dealt with the trauma. He initially entertains thoughts of revenge, allowing himself to get lost in fantasies about killing his father. He keeps a brightly polished gun, nursing his anger for the day he meets his father. When he does confront his father as an adult about his mother’s brutal death. He is in for a shock. He finds himself dealing with the worst predicament a son can ever have. How can he possibly forgive, when his father remains a remorseless, brutal and heartless murderer? During the Soirée he discusses how the lack of remorse affected him.”He would not say he was sorry”.“There was no closure.”His father refused to take responsibility.So instead he decided to write about it.The whole writing process ended up being cathartic and therapeutic and by his own admission was the catalyst in him subsequently healing and gaining closure.

The author emphasised that “Writing the book was not about wallowing in grief – it was about confronting my pain, it was about putting my pain into chapters.” Polela went on to detail how the path to forgiveness was not an easy one. In fact it was riddled with land mines. How he procrastinated a reconciliation and confrontation with his father for years. He wasn’t ready to forgive his father. Scared to test his forgiveness. In his mind he still handed reached that place were he could summon grace. For forgiveness must come with a costly grace. He felt his father had no entitlement to that grace. I knew this story.I had lived my own variation of this. In that moment I realised I had unwittingly walked into an emotional ambush.I would have to confront my own demons.

The story brought up certain issues for me that at different stages I have tried to camouflage in the bushes of normality. As I attempted to detail at the start , I had my own flirtation with death, a fling that was to change the course of my life forever.To quote Kanye West in his break out single Through the wire, ” Good dude, Bad night, Right place, Wrong time In the blink of an eye his whole life changed “. The scars I carry from that encounter both physical and emotional have been indelible.

I have since long recovered from the physical injury and for close to a year after underwent counselling to help me deal with the emotional trauma. I was fortunate that all this happened in a environment that was very supportive , from my family and friends to the counsellor. One thing thing though that I have constantly struggled with has been the fact that the morons who stabbed me where never brought to justice. That they were out there oblivious of the severity of the injuries that they inflicted on me.They have no way of knowing whether I survived or not. They have not been made accountable for their actions.The hardest thing during this whole post stabbing period has been summoning the grace to completely forgive and let go. This is compounded by what my counsellor referred to as “Survivor’s guilt”. Which basically for me was about this.

That had the ambulance been 10 minutes late, I would have bled to death.That though I have lost the use of a vein in my leg I am fortunate that they only scratched an artery , any further damage would have been fatal. That I lost so much blood , I needed eighteen satchets of blood ( 500ml each) , during a 5 hour long surgery.That I had to spend a week in intensive care on life support and a further month in hospital immobile and bedridden . Unable to eat,relieve myself ,walk. But I recovered fully and eventually the garish hole in my inner thigh, which had started out the size of a tennis ball eventually morphed into a beautiful scar . A permanent tattoo that always serves as a reminder if only to myself of my brief dalliance with that bastard death. In essence that given that I overcame all these obstacles it seems petty & maybe ungrateful to hold on to that. The guilt had its foundation in that despite all that I couldn’t summon the grace to forgive them. Though it is something I have never shared openly that I often entertained thoughts of revenge.A process that in manifested itself in self loathing because deep down I knew I was incapable of going through with any act of revenge.

This for me is where My Father , My Monster drew parallels with my own experience. Clearly no life was lost in my case but the resulting trauma was just as real. During the Soirée , the author detailed the injustice he felt at his fathers sentence. How that threatened to derail humans put his life of course.What was more important though is that he managed to turn his life around. He turned his tragedy into triumph. He is currently the national spokesman of the Hawks , a special branch of the South African security forces as well as a best selling author.

This is the hardest thing I think I have written. In fact I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface in laying to rest some of the demons that I still wrestle with. That attack which in all reality lasted not more than 5 minutes has had everlasting impact on my life. It was a life changing experience. One that brings with it a story with many different trajectories , most of which are still playing themselves out. So in that regard I m grateful that I was at that reading . Because it sparked something in me. Writing this as difficult and lonely an experience as it been has been therapeutic and cathartic. Who knows maybe one day I will write my own book. In the meantime let me ensure that my story is one worth telling.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim—letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”

Written by Tafadzwa Tichawangana

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in HIS-story

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The nice guy contract

So earlier this week me and a couple of mates went to a comedy night at a local bar.We had agreed that we could do with a bit of laughs and being a Monday there was not much else on the social calendar to do so off we went .(My Monday’s are usually reserved for Monday night football but being the International break my interest levels were low ).We laughed and it’s safe to say our Mondayitis was quickly cured .That cliche laughter is the best medicine rang true .

One thing that has always struck about comedy and in particular comedians is how observant and perceptive they are of the human condition and how they seem to be able to transform some of our misfortunes and manipulate them in their efforts to solicit laughter from the audience with success. Another interesting facet about comedians is their role as social commentators and they manage to tackle social issues and are able to make us as society or as individuals look into the proverbial mirror.This usually puts us in a head on collision with our flaws by working to disarm our defensive instincts . Comedians achieve this by camouflaging their social commentary with humour , there by reducing the sting that we might otherwise feel from such home truths.

One of the jokes that resonated strongly and which I must admit made me laugh rather uncomfortably was about people who like their own Facebook status.The social analysis on which that joke drew its material from was the whole idea of wanting to be liked .This comedian in particular rounded off the joke saying that if Facebook ever shut down , you would see these people who want to be liked running around the streets with a picture asking people if they liked it .I laughed ( you had to be there )

After the show and as the laughter faded away I became reflective .I questioned why I had laughed so hard at that particular joke , whilst my mates who had found the joke funny too hadn’t laughed as hard . It was in this moment that I realised that I was in my own way trying to take the sting out of a joke which I was reluctant to admit had hit a bit too close to home . I must point out that I’m not one to like my own status .But I did relate to the whole idea of wanting to be liked and I will admit that it has got me caught up in a few compromising situations in the past.

This reminded me of something else that I head read about a while ago dealt with the concept of “The nice guy contract “I came across this nice guy contract when I was struggling with letting go of some of the relationships I had been part of and this Nice guy contract was just the epiphany I needed to gain clarity and courage to make some changes. Until that epiphany, I had no idea what a Nice Guy Contract was, much less that it had been the standard contract I consistently signed with almost everyone in my life. But in that startling moment of clarity I understood not only what it was but why I kept signing it: my self esteem, which I’d previously believed to be built on things solely internal, was in fact entirely dependent on something external,the good will of others. Basically the idea behind my particular Nice Guy Contract was simple: I would agree to be nice to you, to advise you, to sacrifice for you, to care about you and in return you would agree to believe that I was wise, compassionate, excellent as a human being in every way, and finally and most importantly, you would LIKE me.To quote one of may favourite TV characters Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother , You would think I was “Awesome”.

In order to better understand how the Nice guy contract worked in my case I will refer a break up I had a whole ago . This particular break up was the straw that broke the camel’s back and enabled me to free myself of all the nice guy contracts I had unwittingly signed .Like many break ups,the end came in stutters and sine waves rather than just as an abrupt but mercifully irreversible amputation. What was even more pathetic , and for reasons I didn’t understand at the time is that I quickly began to resent, my ex when she continued to ask favours of me. I grudgingly continued to grant them.Even though I wanted to say no.The reason I remained unable to say no was that I’d established a Nice Guy Contract with her.Something I only figured out in retrospect and only after I had had my epiphany .The only difference in this case being I didn’t just expect to be liked; I expected to be loved. And for a while, I was. Unfortunately, once I’d had a taste of that love, it became my ego’s addiction, and when she took it away from me I became profoundly depressed, not because, as I originally thought, I’d been left by someone I thought was the “love”of my life, but because I genuinely believed without that someone I couldn’t be happy. Sadly some part of me believed if I continued to fulfill my contractual obligations to her, she’d start fulfilling hers again to me. To say I was shocked to discover my self esteem had been built on such shaky ground would be an understatement!

I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I had that epiphany about my propensity to sign Nice Guy Contracts with everyone in my life, I suddenly stopped doing it. This was proven to me months later when a friend confronted me asking why I had become such a douchebag to some of my “friends”. My initial instinct was to go on the defensive and deny it. But then I stopped myself, realising that he was absolutely right. I was a douchebag to some of these so called ” friends”.I then began to wonder why I had in fact become so dismissive of some of my “friends”and realised that I’d somehow stopped needing their approval to sustain my self esteem and had somehow ripped up all the Nice Guy Contracts I’d signed with them (these were people, it turned out, with whom I had little in common to bind us together in genuine friendship). I’d somehow discovered a way to love and value myself without feeding off the love and esteem of anyone else.At that very moment I proposed a mental toast to myself …a toast to the douchebag!

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with wanting to be liked. At the same time I am not claiming that I no longer care if I’m liked or not. What I am saying is that in freeing myself from the NEED to be liked, in learning to derive my self-esteem from internal support systems.I can more easily let go of the dissonance that (still) occurs when I’m disliked. Ridding myself of the need to sign Nice Guy Contracts has been liberating.

I have stopped being obsessed with people liking me .I am now constantly working on establishing more authentic relationships.Relationships based on mutual interest, free of the underlying agenda in which I would use the goodwill of others as a crutch for my self esteem and to feed my ego. The most important side effect and welcome benefit has been that I have been able to tone down the incidents were I have had explosive expressions of pent up resentment. Not being able to say no leads to resentment toward oneself that often gets projected onto others but that is paradoxically rarely expressed (becoming angry at someone would violate the terms of the Nice Guy Contract)until it builds up to the point where it must be expressed and then often is in explosive and damaging ways.

I m not saying I have all of a sudden become perfect but I believe I am learning and growing and can safely say the desire to be liked does not drive me as much.

So with that in mind I would like to propose a toast .A toast to the douchebag ! Have you ever signed a Nice guy contract? This is not just limited to romantic relationships but occurs just as frequently in platonic ones too.If you have hopefully sharing my experience will help give you some clarity.

P.S Feel free to like this blog …I am still a work on progress after all .*winks*

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2011 in HIS-story

 

The curious case of the Writer who doesn’t write…

I have been meaning to get started on blogging seriously for the last six months or so. I have been procrastinating, the reasons for which are varied.Whatever inspiration and ideas I had just remained that.What I have done though during this time is read, compulsively.Which in a way was tantamount to being a voyeur as I have always considered myself a writer first.

I have always had the tendency of drifting and getting lost in my own thoughts.In my head I am always creating or revising a scene of some kind. I am writing or revising dialogue, constantly imagining how to verbalise emotions.I have always sort to deconstruct what I have read and always tried to give it my own voice or more appropriately put it my own words. This is not to be mistaken for being a butcher of sorts of other writers literally works, quite the contrary, I am a great admirer of writers who write in their own distinctive style.

Recently I came across an article by a fellow blogger entitled Black people read.But do they write? This struck a chord , and was to be the catalyst in a chain reaction the result of which was,me finally breaking away from the bondage of that wily old foe procrastination. By appealing to the Pan Africanist in me , it provided the just the push I needed to confront the dilemma I have been battling with for a while.That of being a writer who does not write .

Now in addressing this dilemma I will try and be concise, but somehow feel that is unlikely given its nature .The question I have grappled with is this. What is the degree to which a Writer can write as a hobby and be satisfied, without disrupting all other aspects of their life.?

To gain a better understanding of this I feel the need to give some back story. First, the present. I am a scientist by profession.For all but a dalliance that lasted a couple of years, I am and have always been a Writer who doesn’t write (credit to John Irving, who first articulated that very apt concept). How do I know I am a Writer? I love words .From an early age I have spent almost the entirety of my interstitial moments making up and reading stories.Every time I have read I have always had a quite admiration of the architects behind these stories and always felt inspired to express my own ideas in my own words.As for my stories some of them were terrible, some interesting, but all authentic and amusing to me in some way. It seems to be something my brain needs to do to relax and a platform to put together logically the random ideas that are always causing havoc in the space between my ears.

For a long time, perhaps even until my university years , I romantically viewed myself as an observer of life (versus a participator). In retrospect this was probably a protective mechanism. Still, I observed and I created and I lived vicariously through my own imagination. Oddly, I did have a social life, with friends, girlfriends and a lot of partying, so I was participating to a degree. State of mind, I guess.

I always believed I would eventually find a platform for my ideas and write more frequently but then my talents in math and science compelled me forward into a more stable career path. Very pragmatic of me I know .Interestingly enough though I remember the thrill I would get when I got a good grade in English class or got to be part of the debate team in high school. Something funnily enough that meant so much more to me than similar outcome in Biology or Statistics .

This is further highlighted by two particular incidences that happened just after I had completed high school.The first was my young brother informing me that my former English teacher had referenced some of my essays from my time in his class as an example to his current class.The second and more memorable was a conversation I had with the same English teacher, shortly before I left for university.He expressed surprise when I told him I was going to major in Biotechnology at university , he responded, “I assumed you would be an English major,” and in that brief moment I flirted with that idea.I remember thinking to myself really? me?.Needless to say, the idea of being an English major at the time seemed to terrifying and intimidating.

So I stuck with my original plan and went all the way with it.I must add as a side note that my career advisor telling me Biotechnology was the future and one of the fastest growing areas of science and that lasting image of my Dad nodding approvingly reassured me I was taking the right path.(Though a conversation we had halfway through my uni degree wasn’t as reassuring as he innocently asked me what is I would work as when I graduate)

That said I have turned out to be a decent scientist, its something that gives me joy and I am passionate about .It is the only thing other than writing I could imagine myself doing.But not enough it seems for me to completely neglect that burning desire to write.I must point out that I do “write” a lot in my day job but as you can imagine the creative licence here is very limited to almost non existent.

Recently the advent of the “internets” and in particular social media has served to stoke the dying ambers of my passion for writing again through the provision of simple platforms for all and sundry to express themselves.Mainly in the form of all the currently available microblogging and social networking sites which have the added advantage of an existing audience.It is thus easier to communicate and share ideas with like minded people , but even more significantly and maybe self indulgently for me as writer this has provided a simple platform to share my passion with the world.

To be clear, I do not have delusions of grandeur in this. What I could write might not be great literature. I doubt I m the next great novelist /blogger of our time.I am acutely aware that just because you love to do something with all your heart and soul does not mean you will be any good at it. Life’s cruelest irony. But I am optimistic in that anything born out of passion brings with it a sense of personal gratification when completed, at the very least .I also believe I have a voice and I owe to myself to pursue this and just maybe I could also entertain or inspire in the process.

So given that I have no delusions of gaining fame or money by this endevaour, it must then be a hobby. People paint as a hobby, right? When they retire. They don’t have to be any good, they just enjoy the act of it. So I can do that with writing right?

There is only one way to find out.Let the blogging begin…

 
10 Comments

Posted by on November 9, 2011 in HIS-story

 

Tags: , , ,