LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN

Because truly we get to live many tiny lives that come together to form one big life whilst we are still on this planet.

For some of us who are not used to the positive things in life, when they come to us we begin to get scared and sometimes we even resort above all other choices to run. And running can be in many forms for different people.
Sometimes, it is blocking ourselves from living in the moment. For others , it is living in total denial and doubts, afraid that our acceptance will push us into a dark reality.

The truth is that when you are used to a particular way of life and experience, you begin to anticipate that alone. For many years, I had felt I hadn’t known what it meant to live fully. I was buried in my love for building my career and being successful in my passion as a writer. Both without a doubt have brought into my life great lessons, some measure of success and and some significant amount of pleasure.

There is a truth I learnt from Shonda Rhimes and she says ” Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that i am failing in another area of my life”

And that was my reality too. I was failing at taking care of myself. I was failing at simple things like eating well, sleeping well, enjoying simple life pleasures because my life was on the run and I couldn’t pause to breathe. Maybe you want to do a lot of things when you feel you don’t have too many privileges in life to actualize a dream. For me I can say somethings stood out for me . I was lucky to come from a middle class income family i suppose, with an ordinary simple beautiful face, at least for now I can admit, very limited but committed cheerleaders I can tell you that was it at the beginning.  You want to do every thing to succeed and at your own terms. If I tell people I’ve been a loner in my path many times until recent years when I found my tribe they wouldn’t believe it. And I think I also understood very early that people couldn’t be there always when you needed them so I learned to do many things on my own.  I wanted my narrative to be similar  to humans Oprah’s and Retta’s. These are People who have worked their way up to success. When you have that mindset you just don’t stop. You don’t buy yourself a gift with your first paycheck, you work back to back to to be good at what you do and also be financially independent enough to not ask anyone for help. That was me and that was good but that wasn’t everything life was made of.

But I can also say something has changed about me for the past few weeks. A part of it was a consciousness I dived in on my 29th birthday to make the last phase of my twenties count, a part of it was being able to let go of an unrequited love story I have held on for seven years.

All these years, I was faithfully loving one man and I had put living on hold to look for closure. I searched for it everywhere. I tried many ways; I planned it and had a map around it. It was painful, very painful some of you wouldn’t bring yourself to believe that I am telling all the truth there is to tell. I did all I could, I prayed, I read, once I went to Korle Bu to see a psychiatrist a doctor friend had recommended for me, the worse part was that I showed up but the doctor never did. I called multiple times but there was no answer and so I came back to work and worked with all the pain tucked in perfectly to fit an ordinary day and you couldn’t tell I wasn’t breaking inside. I wasn’t pretending but I was managing the storm in me till I get home. I can’t tell you the number of times I have broke down whist driving and some tears shared in public places.

It was the daily poetry and musings that kept me sane although I felt too exposed and naked in the eyes of other humans and when I thought I was going to get my closure after all, after I had planned what to do and say, Travel to have a conversation with this person to get some answers and really speak my heart out, the reality was that life was bigger than my expectations. I stared at the test message on my phone ‘’I’m sorry Jo, I can’t make it.’’

I was scattered at once but have you realized that feeling you get when somethings finally rips out completely? Like that small thing you’ve wanted to complete something, it felt like that and it was painful but I was surprised I cried less. I cried and laughed at the same time to the redemption that just occurred unexpectedly because I had sent multiple messages asking to meet up for this conversation, is was pressing and making me restless and I felt it was the best thing to do. But when many days passed by without a reply even after sending a couple of reminders I stopped expecting an answer.

I wanted to test if what I was feeling was real the following day and I don’t know how it happened, I felt like I was free, free to let myself love myself and anybody I was willing to let into my life for another time.

Sometimes I look at myself and wonder why I loved someone so much even when I knew I mine was the story of the one that went away, why didn’t I move on so quick, why did I really truly give my best love at least that’s what I thought to someone who I can’t even put a tag on because It never came with one. I wasn’t a girlfriend, or a lover or a side chick; I was just that girl who after waiting all her years to experience what it meant to be in love for the first time, among all the people in the world, falls strongly and blindly in love with a man who was close to getting married. And to find out how restless my heart was, the struggle between walking away or just dancing with the shadows of a love I couldn’t ask to be given, still being in love when he said I do to the woman of his dreams, Still being in love when the first baby came, still being in love when the second came and the third and not knowing how to unlove or explain to my own self or admit that I wasn’t insane.

Many things can make a person walk away easily sometimes and in my case that should have been the easiest but as it turned out it was my hardest at least for all those human beings who have touched my heart in one way or the other.

You think life is black, and then suddenly it is white. Then you unlearn that narrative and come to believe that life is black and white. Then suddenly many grey areas pops up and you unlearn again and relearn that is has many spectrum of colors known and unknown, that not everything makes sense, that it is huge and bigger than all the imaginations and dreams you had and sometimes it takes its own direction and it’s hard to fight back but only if you yield will the damages be bearable or at least repairable to some extent.

I have realized something about life, there is always this moment of utmost surprise where we find ourselves doing the things we never dreamt we could do. It is like the shock of seeing good people making bad choices and bad people making good decisions. All of us have been there before. My little cousin broke an unexpected news to me recently and I smiled, I told him, honey that is life.

I have also have my ‘that is life’ moments, maybe too much of it that now I feel I am learning to not bother myself with so many things I cannot change. It is changing a lot of my relationships with people. I don’t push to belong, I speak my truth and I will let you see through me. I will be a permeable membrane and you will know my business but I have my boundaries built in place  that the least you can do is to bruise it but never will you break it. I have also learnt to be my own kind of woman and be gentle with my becoming whatever that is becoming. I have learnt to be a rebel and oppose some religious restrictions that only was done out of fear and never out of love or understanding. Above all I am still learning all over again and finding God.

 

When I think of all this, I still think life is beautiful amidst the chaos and heartbreaks, the imperfections and the mundane things, even all the unexpected happenings.

When bad things happen to you or someone you love, you just see how evil the world is, until suddenly something beautiful happen. You see a toddler walk for the first time, a bird build her nest around your window, a new colleague call you miss pretty, someone sends you a text to remind you of how much you inspire them, being still employed, not visiting the hospital in years, your plants budding flowers in the early morning and how miraculous it is to look at yourself in the mirror and believe that you too are a beautiful woman and the feeling of healing after you’ve nursed your wounds for a long time.
Even scars don’t scare you anymore. How magical! And there is no hiding in telling the truth.

I use to get panic attacks when good things seem to be happening to me. My imaginations sometimes get dark. When I am happy I feel maybe my time on earth is getting near. I begin to ask, is today the day I leave, or am I going to be someone’s target, Is someone going to come into my life just to hurt me? So many negative thoughts floats in my mind.

I am going to be honest, the only way I keep going is to keep showing up and giving myself the opportunity to be seen. I took to fitness, dancing, genuinely enjoying my off days and feeling no guilt for having them, I bought new plants and created a patio for them. I share myself through my stories. I want people to be able to see through me, know my kind of heart, I know it is not perfect but it’s a place of daily construction. I want to be remembered more for the beautiful things of life, I want to be seen as someone who inspires, who is kind, who is sweet, and who has a beautiful smile, someone who tries everything she can possibly try, someone full of life, someone moving, letting go, unlearning and relearning but most importantly someone full of love even though loving may have hurt.

Because truly we get to live many tiny lives that come together to form one big life whist we are still on this planet.

After all when I die, the world will still tell many lies. It will be crazy the number of places my face will show up. I swear I may be someone’s best friend when I hadn’t even met them. I will hear the best of tributes only that as much as I love to read I won’t get to read them. Once I have thought that if everyone knew their finals days on earth and when they were going to exit, it will be the most nicest thing ever to attend their own funeral. It will be nice to stand on the stage of life and see all the years of your life flash like a second before your eyes and all that you did with each second come back as a solemn reminisce before you. It will be nice to see the genuineness of every tear drop shared over you, the depth of pain in the eyes of the people who love your whole humanness and the shallowness of the praises that reveals true hypocrisy. It will be nice to say a proper goodbye and say those words “ I love you” and mean it in the most sincere words you had never meant before in your life because they will be the last time you will be able to say it. I wondered what will be the most important thing every single person will see in that moment. And I certainly know it will be different for everyone but what I know is that it will be all tired up to the love we shared with another living thing.

It’s crazy when you think of the realities of life and compare it close to your fantasies.  But I think that’s what humbles me with the daily sobering truth that

whist I am here it is possible to live again and again each day with devotion.

Jo Nketiah

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