Monday, May 19, 2014

When I grow up

One of the first questions that gets thrown around upon meeting new people is "So what did you always want to be when you grow up?"

I've never been that kid, though. I remember wanting to be a pharmacist once; that was soon replaced by a marine biologist. I don't know why but at the time ( I must've been 10) those careers seemed glamourous somehow... I've always wanted attention. I've always yearned , above all else, to be validated, I think. I still get taken aback when asked if I always wanted to be a teacher. The best answer I can give is I don't stand in front of my kids and wish I was elsewhere doing something else. But I do sometimes fear that I am making no impact on them. When that boy drags his feet into my classroom, slouches in his chair, and let's out a long sigh before responding with half-opened eyes, "I dunno", I feel a little defeat seep into me. I'm trying so hard to make this exciting!! Why aren't you excited?!

I've learnt and  continue to learn that I am restless. Sometimes I squirm in discomfort and I question and overthink everything! I convince myself of the biggest lies and drive myself almost over a cliff. It's good to know this  because once you understand it, you can live with that thing you hate about yourself until you see it's not something to hate but to understand and embrace. Afterall, restlessness is what has often compelled me to make a move.

Through all that discomfort though, you should always remember never to under estimate your ability to influence. In a good or bad way, we influence people. No one walks out of our lives untouched by us.  Sometimes it'll be obvious and on other days, you'll have to say it over and over again to yourself while hugging your knees in a corner, but believe me, it happens.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Live Alone

Finally, after over a year of wishing to live alone, here I am. I finally got what I wanted and all of a sudden, it seemed like I had all this time on my hands and nothing to do with that time but wonder if I made the right decision. What if I choke on my dinner and die? How long will it take for them to find my body? Which brings me to rule number 1; do NOT overthink it! Your mind will go to very strange places!

There I was, at Joburg Zoo thinking out loud to two married-with-kids colleagues and one of them finally cuts me short and says, "You singles irritate me! You're young. You have no responsibilities but yourselves but what do you do on  Friday nights? Sit at home doing absolutely nothing! Go out! Have a little fun, for goodness sake! You're gonna want these days back when they're gone!" This brings me to rule number 2; don't stay cooped up at home. Going out -  even if it's just to gym  or staying a bit longer at work - makes you appreciate coming home to the serenity of an empty house.

I spent one Sunday  afternoon waiting for my brother to fetch his couch. I nearly burst into tears when he didn't show up. Who was I gonna talk to? My hard drive provides the illusion of interaction, but those people are interacting with each other, not me! Rule number 3; when you are home, don't be too idle. There is plenty to do.Your dishes (I'm sure you have them in the sink!), do your laundry. It wasn't just piling up with ex housemate's clothes, you know! Clean your floor! Whites are not the only ones who shed hair! And cook for yourself for crying out loud! There's no harm in learning to cook smaller portions.

Speaking of watching others interact, rule number 4 - sometimes the silence is good. It's an opportunity to read a book, write and think about your life. You'd really be surprised how much there is to think about and plan for. True story!

So far, these  rules have helped me through the first month of single living. It was hard at first and I still have days when I throw them out the window, curl into  a ball and feel sorry for myself, but slowly the silence doesn't seem so loud anymore and I've realised that this living alone business, it's not bad and it can only get better from here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Self - Embrace

"I want someone to bare witness to my life", I said. "Is your life that amazing?" he mused.

Actually, it is because  I believe it is not amazing. In fact having a witness to one's life is what would make it meaningful, in my opinion. His perspective on a desire that lies hidden in the deepest part of me was interesting because I've realised that I depend too much on people's affirmation when it should be mine that I cling to the most.

You see, I'm not beautiful because people stop and stare at me.I'm not good at my job because my learners eat out of the palm of my hand. I'm not funny because they laugh, I'm not smart because of straight As. I'm not musical because they sing along. So my worth should not depend on them at all. It's time I embrace who I am and more importantly understand who I am and know what I'm about - not what they say I'm about, because they wonder in and out of my life as they see fit, but I am not going anywhere. Surely it is my opinion that should matter the most.