What makes me, me

The daily prompt for Thursday the 25th October was ‘identity’ – which is about those things and characteristics by which I am recognized by  like:-

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and my driver’s licence which I have to present every time I need to open a bank account or prove that I am the person I claim to be. However my passport and driver’s licence identify me they are external things which do not say about the person I really am.

At other times I am identified by my race, my culture and religion; my sex and my career also tell people who I am. In this era of technology I am identified by either my pin number or voice – here again while all these things prove the person I am as far as I am concerned they still fall short of saying the real person I am inside.

For me identity is about my thoughts and values which influence  my lifestyle – how I relate to people and situations. The things I am passionate about that is what I hope people can recognize me by because they reveal the things that make me, me.

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Daily Prompt : Aloneness

The daily prompt for Friday the 18th of August 2017 was ‘solitary’ as I thought about my interpretation of it I decided to use ‘aloneness’ as the tittle of my post. Just reading and thinking about it made me feel  that something was not right in my head. the word solitary invoked mixed feelings within me.

Sociologists have instilled in me that every human is a social being meaning that there is an inherent need to want and enjoy friendships and companionship. To seek to be alone can sometimes be viewed as ‘weird’ Yet there are many people who love and enjoy their own company, it is perfectly normal to want to be alone.

Growing up in a big family and having a small house for eight people  I always had people around me it was practically not possible at any given time to be alone. It was fun to always my have my parents and my siblings around 24/7, yet deep inside me there was a yearning of wanting to be own my own at times. I could never explain why I needed time own my own it was when I became a teenager that I understood the need to be on my own.  I worked out I needed to have a space to process my own thoughts on several issues without being influenced by those around me. The only place I found that peace and quiet was just walking into a church and be quiet, I never used to tell anyone of my church trips even my closest friends because I needed to be quiet.

For me ‘solitary’ is about allowing myself to find myself away from the hustle  and bustle of life and find solace in the sound of silence. Now that I live on my own it  is possible to  walk to solitary places like this one

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where I am able to spend some time on my own and connect with my inner self and nature. I enjoy the company of those close to me and my friends but now and then I love being on my own.  It is in those solitary moments that I am inspired  a lot, I find meaning in the silence.

Daily Prompt : Triumph

Triumph is that great feeling of happiness which you have as a result of victory or a major achievement. As I watched both the 2012 and 2016  I saw triumph written all over the faces of those athletes who had won a medal whether it be bronze, silver or gold. As each told their journey to that point of victory I heard  stories of sheer determination, and how each one of them had  given  up things they loved doing in order to achieve what they had set themselves hence the feeling of triumph.

When I saw this daily prompt  at first I thought it would not be easy to go anywhere with the prompt, the more I thought about it the more I was drawn to write a post. Most people have aspirations but they never attempt to have a go because of fear of not achieving their dream. The reason they suppress the urge to do try their dream is that people may have told them that they can not do it, or they may have heard people  say it can never be done.

To those who  against all odds pluck up some courage and give a try and the discover that it is possible to achieve what they may have dreamed of for years are the ones who have moments of triumph because they would have conquered what other people thought can not be conquered. Most of all they will have fought against their own doubts in them selves. The following photograph reflects triumph against all odds:-

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This plant is blooming from what seems like a dead thorny plant yet it emerges brightly as if it to say I have  I am a victor.

Looking Forward To Advent

Autumn colours are beautiful, looking at how they change from one shade to the next takes you to a level where you do not realise that autumn has begun in earnest. For some time the pending dark nights and cold evenings are momentarily forgotten as the colours warms one’s heart.

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Autumn signals the drawing near of the season of Advent which for me as a believer is all about ‘waiting’ which was the one word prompt for the 19th of October. Advent gives us an opportunity to reflect on the theme of waiting challenging every believer to ask questions like  ‘why do we wait’? what it feels like to be someone who waits what happens when we do not wait and why God may want us to get better at waiting.

Waiting is not an easy thing to do.  I know the feelings I get when I get birthday or Christmas presents written ‘do not open’ until on your birthday or on Christmas day, the anxiety of wanting to open always makes life very uncomfortable. Waiting is counter cultural especially living as we do in a credit-driven society which urges us to abandon all thought of waiting with adverts like ‘buy now and pay later’ Developments in communication has eroded the notion of waiting further we hear that people feel frustrated if they have to wait for more that 24 hours to receive a reply from an e-mail.

It does seem strange that the church has Advent, which is four weeks dedicated to waiting it would seem as if the church has become alien to the society around it. What seem to have happened is that the anticipation, which looked forward to  Christmas  has encouraged people to ‘anticipate’ Christmas in another sense, not in the sense of looking forward to but in the sense of ‘bringing it forward and begin celebrations early.

The season of Advent enhances the season and the month of December enabling us to anticipate Christmas properly in the sense of looking forward to it preparing ourselves and becoming ready rather than in the sense of starting early. The vision of Advent lies in waiting; a waiting that rests not in frustration but in stillness; not frenzied anticipation but in embracing of the present. Paula  Gooder sums it very well in her book ‘The meaning is in the waiting’ she says, “If we want to appreciate Advent fully we need to re-learn how to wait, to rediscover the art of savouring the future, of staying in the present  and of finding meaning in the act of waiting.”

 

A natural trait

Reflecting on the one word prompt of the 18th of October made me conclude that ‘trust’ for me is a natural trait you are born with. I imagined a baby who from the time s/he is born finds itself in the arms of its parents it can be argued that there will have been a bonding during the nine months it was in its mother’s womb. I guess that time in the womb it feels safe and protected while the mother does everything to make sure it develops as normal as it can be.

Once it is born  its livelihood will depend on those around the baby, if the baby is hungry it will natural cry trusting those around will make sure the baby is fed, kept dry and all its needs  met. In most cases the baby will grow and be nurtured in this safe environment. Throughout its childhood the child will continue to trust the adults around and has no reason to doubt their care until that trust is betrayed.

I think most of the unfortunate stories we hear of children being abused be it emotionally, mentally or sexually is what destroys that natural trait which the child had until the moment the abuse begin. What is unfortunate is that once that trust has been betrayed the child  or young person will always struggle to trust people because of the experience of childhood.

One’s trust may not have been betrayed during childhood or through teenage years,  but it may be betrayed as one begins adult it may be through broken promises by those they look up to. The trust may be broken by unfaithful relationships as they begin to date or it may be through parents divorcing. What this does is to scar the person depriving them the enjoyment of loving and healthy relationships because they will be afraid to hurt again.

So my theory is everyone is born with the ability to trust until that trust is betrayed then the ability is lost in some cases for ever. It is everyone’s responsibility not to destroying this natural trait by betraying those who trust us.

 

Dare speak out

The daily one word prompt for the 5th October 2016 was ‘Daring’ first I looked up in the Collins dictionary and this is the definitions I got (i) to be courageous enough to try to do something (ii) to do something risky.  Daring is about doing these two actions. I am a person who is passionate about justice, I had to look up the meaning of the word passion and this is what I got: a strong enthusiasm for something. So if I combine the meaning of these two words which reflects what I am about I am  left asking myself these questions; if I describe myself as passionate about justice have I been courageous enough to speak out against it? Have I taken any risks to speaking out about it? especially in my native land where injustice is rampant. The answer is a big NO why? I will try to answer this question in this post.

In 1980 Zimbabwe got its independence and great was the celebration as the nation braced itself to start afresh giving every citizen equal opportunities to attain a good standard of life in a new democratic country. Each person worked hard to make the new nation work before we realised things started going wrong five years on slowly the nation was becoming a one party state any one with opposing views to the ruling party was perceived as the enemy of the state. If you dared spoke out about the misrule, corruption and everything which you saw as undemocratic you either disappeared or were arrested and be dealt with in the prison holding cells that when you came out your were a convert of the ruling party.

While I was not happy about the poor governance it remained a very personal issue which I only talked about with very close friends for fear of the consequences if  the powers that be knew I was against the way they were ruling. I then made a decision not to take any risks to do what I am passionate about to  dare speak out against injustices how self preservation that sounds. I  was  not  prepared to risk my life for the causes that are at the core of my being. Daring to make a difference is a risky business I hope one day I will be courageous enough to challenge all that is unjust in my country.

 

Handle with Care

Still playing catch up with the daily word prompts which I have not written for quite a while now. On the 16th of September 2016 the one word prompt was ‘Fragile’ my mind went quickly to those parcels or boxes which are written ‘handle with care’ advising handlers to know they have to be careful as contents may be broken as they are being moved. I recalled a time in my life when ‘handle with care’ was written all over my face.

Life for most has twist and turns one minute all is going well, pursue your chosen career and you succeed, you get a dream job you excel and you become very confident at that moment you appear to have everything in control. One betrayal every thing come tumbling down you  and your world curves in and you then realise you are not in control after all there things you can not stop happening to you it is just how life is.

My life became very fragile when my marriage came to an end, up until then I believed I had everything under control, I was doing so well in my job managing my own life the best I could the best wife I could be until my husband dropped a bombshell letting me know he was no longer in love with me. Emotionally I became fragile, seeing a couple holding hands tore me to pieces and I would break down. Receiving wedding invitations made me cry and  any situation which reminded me of the love I had reluctantly lost made me lose it. I became very sensitive an innocent comment would make me so furious concluding it was aimed at criticising me. I was no longer the person I was, that got me thinking.

There is something about giving your heart to someone in love that is wounded when that love is betrayed I am still figuring what it is that leaves one in a state of not being able to function after a relationship breaks down. I guess that is a subject for another post, ‘handle with care’ label is only meant for goods not human beings we should not be fragile when our hearts are  broken.

Life’s Landmarks

The one word prompt ‘Fifty’ got me thinking about life’s landmarks which each individual is supposed to aspire to reach. At the 21st birthday you are given a key to symbolise adulthood at least in my generation that was the case, obviously it is different now. Then comes the completion of university education, for some there will be the day you get married. Those land marks are important as they shape one’s life line.

The one word prompt asked us to write something about the word fifty. First I thought about the world of cricket if a batsman reaches 50 runs in an innings he get an applause from the spectators because he will have reached what is known as ‘half a century’ a batsman reaching a century is regarded as a landmark score in his career it will be recorded in their record as cricketer.

When  you hit your fiftieth birthday you have reached what is known as the ‘midlife’ serious thinking begins at that stage i.e. a place you will eventually retire to, how your career has turned out for some this is the stage when they blossom because they have mellowed down and have a mature out look to life. Anon expressed this stage in a very revealing way when he said:  “You  know  you are fifty when a kid you once babysat  is now a lawyer ”

Then he goes on to reassure  those who have reached this age by saying:  “if things get better   with age then you are approaching magnificent at age fifty ”

When a couple celebrates fifty years of marriage that celebration is called ” the golden wedding anniversary ” they will have endured all the trials of marriage and remained together. One quote summarises this sticking together very well for me it says, ” True love is spending one day getting married …. and the rest of your life feeling glad you did ”

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I did reach such a land mark myself I do not regret it did not last to reach fifty I am glad I experienced what it means to love someone I will forever treasure that experience.

Non -Commitment

Yesterday’s one word prompt ‘Maybe’ in my mind is about not committing for an example if a child asks for something the mother knows it can not be afforded the mother would not out rightly refuse but would say maybe which means it may or may not happen.

An invitation may come to an event you are not interested in and you are not comfortable to turn down the safe response is to say maybe which means you have an option of not turning up as you will not have committed yourself to attend. Maybe can be a phrase which gives one freedom to do what suit you best.

The word can also be used not be over confident over a task , a test or project undertaken. Every time my mum asked me how well I would do in exams my response would be maybe I will pass.  That maybe is saying I am not  confident with my own performance in the exams yet deep down heart I may know I will pass but at this stage I would rather not be over confident.

Being on the safe side is something human beings tend to do to avoid embarrassment when things do not turn out as one would have hoped.  In the case of the mother and a child’s request a mother has taken an easy way out avoiding to talk about money which may be short in the family. In the case of unwanted invitation the word maybe is used again as an easy way out  avoiding to talk about the lack of interest in the event. In other words you are politely turning down the invitation by not committing to the event.

People I admire

The one word prompt, ‘admire’ got me thinking about people I have admired who have had a significant impact on my life. I guess the best part to begin is to mention what it is that draw me to them.  First is their authenticity  which is their being real –  no pretences. Second their belief in themselves in that they set their minds to  realise their dream, and thirdly their determination not to allow what life throws at them deter them from working hard to make something for themselves.

The first is my maternal grandma I did write about her in one of the post in this blog

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The most lovely person I ever knew.  I admired her value systems and everything I have said above a very authentic person and above all a God loving person. All I have ever wanted to be was to be like my grandma.

Nelson Mandela is the next person I admire immensely. He took everything life threw at him with great dignity. He studied to be a lawyer and was never allowed to be the great lawyer he could have been. He started a family and was never allowed to be the great father and husband he could have been. Yet when he was freed he never wanted to have his own back on those who stole his whole life. I admired his capacity to genuinely put the past behind him and led his fragmented nation with humility.

The last person I admire is JK Rowling author of the Harry potter books. I hardly know her except her famous books. It was a documentary on her life which made me admire her. After her marriage had failed and was left to bring up her daughter as a single parent Rowling did not allow her dire circumstances deter her from realising her dreams. This is how she described her circumstances herself   “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realised and I still have a daughter I adore, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which to build my life.” That is how she started on the journey to the Harry Potter story. That is what I admire about her the sheer determination to turn around her life to the success story it has become.

I could have gone on and list a lot of other people who I admire but these three would do for the moment.