So far, 2018 has been a difficult year. I have no clue about how you feel, but to me the ride has been exhausting. The year started on a high note as I had promising prospects in life and career. Today as I retrospect, there’s barely nothing to smile about this journey so far.
The truth is that I had many dreams. I always dream. I have a stock of books in which I document my dreams, both immediate and long-term. I cherish putting my thoughts down because I am a forgetful, petulant freak. I had dreams of rising to the top of the feeding chain. My career and personal development would supplement this.
I had envisioned to improve on my writing, register a company and open a photo studio. Of the three, nothing has fruited so far. My writing is still the mess it was last year-Still lacklustre, unprofessional and unimaginative. That’s what I personally feel.
Since I lost my biggest writing gig last year, my writing has hit the wall. The perquisites that came with it motivated me. From then, I have veered off the trajectory to follow short-lived obsessions. I am a petty man, one who becomes obsessed with things. These obsessions are not worth mentioning. Some helped to put food on the table, others off it and one raped my dignity, left me sore, depressed and solitary. When I took into these obsessions, I abandoned my writing.
Some will say I am consistent and in a better position because I write weekly, but writing isn’t about writing alone. It is more of knowing what to write, and writing it well. Abandoning my writing means that I stopped reading relevant stuff, binged on movies, fell into depression and indulged in obsessions. When you don’t read, your brain dies. So does your writing. This has put me in a position where I’ve had to struggle to write.
Being passionate about words, I feel guilty if I fail to write. That guilt follows me everywhere like an ominous-looking shadow, reminding me of my indolence. I, therefore, have to struggle to put something together for Wednesdays, week after week. Struggle can toughen you, or cock-block your vision. In toughening your course, it instills strength to help you clean up and get on your feet. Struggle makes you a better person. But still it can instill fear in you, convince that you’ll not make it so that when you write, you write for the sake of it.
Due to this struggle, my book writing project has stalled. I feel sad when I open it and lack the strength to work. Sometimes I read through and feel as if a nursery kid wrote it. In uttermost devastation, I close the tab, grab a snack and distract myself.
Over the years I’ve always wanted to open a company. In the prior years, I did manage to run a few organizations, clubs and businesses.The experience made me think I am a leader. Even though most of my businesses failed terribly, I still convinced myself that I am cut out for business. Albeit deep inside I understand I can’t make a great businessman, I can’t shake it off because I am obsessed. If you have been in the obsession business, then you know letting go is like sobering up from a ten-year-old addiction. One day you’re off the bottle, the next day you can’t keep your lips off it.
I wanted to register a writing business- one to offer writing, editing, training and publishing alongside mentorship. But having been tied up in my petty obsessions, I ended up giving up on the idea because I lacked the right resources.
I have not given up on opening a photo studio. I have bled for it, but ended up in a rabbit hole. I have tried to save for this project, denying myself little pleasures to see it through. Honestly, I can’t say I am any close. With my attention spread all over, I have been unable to raise the money for it. But I dream about it every day. Does that make me a good dreamer or a terrible one?
All I am saying is that the year has been really tough for me. I have spent three quarter of it depressed. My depression has everything to do with the new environment and the hasty decisions that I make on a daily basis. A part of me is reckless. I am afraid it is consuming more of my sanity at a terrific speed. Making the wrong choices at this rate is worrying, and continues to make my life a hell.
I have not been well. I spend more time indoors. I have lost friends, slackened on making new ones, and given up on myself.. My close friend, Benz, is the only person who makes things sensible to me because he opens my mind with ideas, and accords them action. A day with him improves my mood for a week. We share dreams, he tells me the truth, I open up to him, and he doesn’t sugarcoat words to soothe my pain. Sadly, we live miles apart.
My elder sister calls. We talk thrice a week, at least. She knows much about me. She can read situations, like when I fail to send her something for long.When I don’t pick her calls, she knows things are dragging me to hell. Although I feel that she doesn’t fully understand me, talking to her is therapeutic and her presence is assuring. She often reminds me to pray.
When she got married, she shifted from SDA church to PAG. Her husband’s church. The things women do for love. This reminds me that my lady worships on Sunday. And when we talk about Christianity, she has this attitude that many people have about other churches. She thinks SDA people are crazy for observing certain principles. Crazy how that doesn’t make me love her less.
Anyway, my sister is my strength. While others survive by their mother’s the prayers, I survive on my sister’s. I don’t know what the PAG church did to her, she just became super religious. Earlier last year, I was struggling with issues while in school. Popularity issues. I let her know what was going on. She asked me to pray about the situation. On top of that, she offered her pastor my number for prayer and counseling. I don’t know why but I fear pastors praying for me. They can pray for me from wherever they are, that would be fine. But calling me, advising me and preaching to me is meddling with my life. I don’t trust strangers, especially pastors. In today’s world, religion has become a business. People are using charms among other powers to make a kill. Many churches are being run by rogue pastors who bank on deception among other things to steal in the name of the Lord.
At times I don’t blame the fake preachers. I blame fake believers. Today’s world is full of fake people, Christians who don’t read the Bible enough to know when a fake pastor is capitalizing on their ignorance. When you let someone read the Bible for you, you offer them the liberty to choose the way for you. Who knows where they’ll lead you?
So my sister’s pastor called once or twice before giving up. I was a vault. I wondered how I would begin talking to a stranger from shags of my life struggles- that my relationship was a mess, or that my motivation levels were low. I was not ready to open up and felt that he would never understand. As an emotional person, I go with who I see. That is why long distance relationships never work for me. I need the person present; I need hugs, smooches and cuddling often. My love language is quality time.
Emotional people don’t need words when their worlds are falling apart, they need action. They need people to rescue them, sometimes without saying even a word. They can just have sex and all their baggage smothers away. They can just lie in someone’s arms and they’ll forget everything nasty trailing them. They need to be loved. Give them love!
In all these struggles, the worst has been keeping up with my faith. When the year kicked off, I told God I needed to grow spiritually. I am a stronger believer, but my idea of worship has changed over time. From the time I moved out of the nest, the new environment came with new challenges. Before, I went to church every Saturday. There were comfortable means of transport . So there was no excuse, unless I was terribly ill or when it rained heavily. In my new nest, the local church is a Sabbath school. Sabbath schools are baby churches, small and crawling. It is where everyone knows everybody else.
I don’t like going to churches where people know each other. I like my identity under covers. All I want when I go to any church is to sit down, listen to the sermon, and then leave. I don’t attend any sessions that might require me to profile myself. So the small church near where I stay is a no-go zone. Other churches are miles away; I don’t have convenient means of transport or people to motivate me.
This is to say I stopped going to church. I stopped ironing my clothes. I don’t remember the last time I wore a suit. This year I haven’t bought any extra tie, or shirt, or any official wear. Going to church is a beautiful thing.
However, I felt pretentious or guilty for behaving badass all week, then on Saturday becoming a meek, lovely man in a sleek suit and shiny black shoes. In my adult life I haven’t carried a Bible to church. In fact, I don’t own one. I’d be singing my vocal cords dry, behaving well and nodding to the pastor’s sermon. After the sermon I’d be of the ‘world’.
There was a huge rift between being holy and the person I was. Living such diabolic life weighed heftily on me. When I stopped going to church, I became the best version of Mzangila you can get. I got better, and felt freer. I didn’t have to pretend anymore. And there is nothing good as being yourself. You stop feeling guilty. You do things knowing you’re doing them for yourself and not to please others. That is freedom.
Freedom is great if checked. When it breaks the dykes, it pushes you to the ends of earth. It is a good dream on a bad day. Nothing seems wrong. I can go to work on Saturdays. That is how crazy it has become. They boy who couldn’t touch a thing on Sabbath is now touching everything on Sabbath. That is the price of freedom. It has no warnings. It doesn’t counsel you. It paves way for you to explore, and then one day, you’re so lost and unable to find your way around.
That is where I am now. I am lost in a labyrinth of my own making. Confused, hurt, depressed and crushed in spirit. And for the last nine weeks I have been sitting by myself, loathing and sobbing and wondering what I am doing, and what I should be doing. The answer to the wonders of my inherent foolishness has been elusive. Whether I am here advertently or not, I have learnt that even the strong fall. I have learnt it is the nature of life to beat us down. There will be days of grinning and days to grind teeth. And now it is my time to grind my teeth.
Then one day the sun will rise from the East and it will shine shafts of strange light that has never shone on me. The cloaks of darkness burdening me will be lifted off my back. Tears will be wiped from my eyes. For the first time in a long while, I’ll squint at the brightness of the life surrounding me. I’ll see more transparently from that day. My mind will think with more clarity. Everything will be okay for a while, until the sun sinks again in the West. Then darkness will swallow me again for a whole night. In the deep dark recesses of the night I’ll languish in untold misery, waiting for the morning. And when the morning comes, I’ll be able to smile again. The world is a self-perpetuating cycle of misery and happiness, each with its season. One day you’re down, another day you’re on the summit. What would life be like if it didn’t offer challenges to strengthen us? Have you ever asked yourself what would happen?
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The Supreme Hunter in Captivity
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?
Edited by Hannah Kageche
Photo Credit: Nas With Notepads