To when perfectly laid out plans epically fail!

So I am a planner. I absolutely love planning. I booked my May leave in February, and was already planning a full schedule on where I shall be going, with whom, and to do what. It’s all written down in my journal somewhere, ready to be polished up and executed. Planning is the best aspect of any event for me, because it allows me to use my imagination and try see the cheapest route available to achieve the same goals. Doesn’t always work out, because closer to the date I suddenly decide that budgets aren’t really made to be stuck to, but I digress…

So being the planner that I am, and with this year being the busiest ever in my career life, I began my December journey armed with new journals, new diaries and of course, a plan as to how I was going to navigate the year. I had a big presentation end of January, and I started working on it second week of December because I wanted it done by Christmas. My study timetable was neatly laid out and by this time I was meant to have covered a third of the syllabus. My then boyfriend was talking of marriage and I thought sure, I will slot it in somewhere in all this crazy, because all there is to a perfectly executed life is proper planning, right?!

Wrong!

So December came, and life just decided to throw me major curve balls which set me off track completely. My health also decided to call it quits, and I spent two solid days lying in bed recuperating. So my presentation to be done before Christmas deadline was just not going to happen. But I bounced back, the life pressures eased a bit, and come December 31, I entered the new year, armed with the faith and enthusiasm everyone else around me was carrying. This was going to be my year! I was made to thrive! I was going to eat pressure for breakfast!

Not!

OK to be fair, the first few days of the new year did go by quite well. I stuck to my resolutions, and to my timetable. I was combing and styling my hair everyday, (believe me this is a thing for me), and I was ticking off all the topics I was meant to be studying that day, and even ticking off future study topics. Nails were done, dishes cleaned soon after each meal, and I was eating healthy. Had not had any snacks in a week. Thriving! Oh, and presentation was getting done. Told you I was going to be eating pressure for breakfast!

Disaster!

Said boyfriend breaks up with me. Turns out he had someone else or something, and they are expecting their own little bundle of joy, and well, he is ecstatic, whilst I am left with my jaw on the floor. Did not see that coming! At all! To be fair, I spend most of my time at work, and when not at work I am either studying, or worrying about how I am not studying, so it is possible the signs were there, I just completely missed them. 🀦🏾

Now I don’t know if you guys are like me, but I much prefer it when things go according to plan, and this was not the plan! We were supposed to go on a holiday in April, and we were meant to be talking marriage, I could have sworn that’s what his messages in person and on the phone had clearly said to me in December. Had I imagined all of that? πŸ€”

Depression

Over the past adult years, this is something that has reared its ugly head a couple of times, but never quite as strongly as it did this past season. With it comes it’s friends, self doubt, feelings of hopelessness, over-sleeping and not eating. Why these feelings? To be honest I don’t know. It wasn’t because of a boy. Well, it wasn’t just because of a boy. It was everything. The pressure. The lifestyle I chose. Feeling like a failure. Feeling like I don’t even know how far back in my life I would have to go to change the trajectory of my life. Not knowing what I would change, because I am not sure what defines me. I pride myself on my ability to read people, and I have seldom been wrong, so how had I not seen this level of deception coming?

So of course, the fixer in me had to analyze everything, do a post-mortem so to speak, and see where it is I had gone wrong, for future reasons of course. Did I mention that I love planning? So yes, the plan for my future was for me to get married at 27 years of age, and have my first baby by 35. And if I am not mistaken, I am currently only give or take seven years behind on that schedule πŸ˜‚

It’s a very difficult thing to have a near perfect plan laid out, and have it fall apart at the seams. What do you then hold onto, when everything is simply not going according to schedule?

So here is the thing about life. Things don’t always go according to our plans, no matter how perfectly laid out those plans may be. In fact, as Shakespeare puts it, When trouble comes, it comes not as single spies, but in battalions. Murphy’s law, Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. It is the funny thing about life. It has it’s own way of handling you, just when you think you have managed to handle it. But it’s not about what is thrown your way, because believe me, unbelievable mess shall be thrown your way once in a while. It’s not about that, it is about how you handle that. But not even that, it is about who holds you through the mess. I will be the first to admit it, the first quarter of the year has not gone according to plan. It’s been a mess, and I have handled it poorly!

Hebrews 13:5-6 God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?”

But here is what I have learnt folks, life is not about the future. It’s not even about the past. Life is about the present. The right here, right now. In Shona we have a saying, huswa hwenyati ndehuri mudumbu, huri pamuromo hunofa nahwo. I will paraphrase its meaning, to say it means what you have is the present! It is this very moment that you have, that you are guarenteed! That’s literally all you are entitled to, this very moment. So what are you spending your moments concentrating on? Because remember, once the moment is gone, that’s it, it is gone! And on your dying bed, all you shall have are memories. Glimpses of moments. So let me ask you again, are you present? Are you a present being, or are you like me, always planning the future, always rehashing the past when future plans don’t go according to plan?

I will be honest, I have no regrets over said ex boyfriend. We had fun times together, and for that present moment, it was fun to have him around. Something I have come to realize over the years is that it is not about the opportunities you took that didn’t end well. It is about the fact that you took the opportunities, you were present, in those moments, and you learnt, you lived, you laughed, you loved! You did your best, with whatever information you had at that time, and so what things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to? It is all part of the journey. It’s what makes us alive! Human!

So folks, here is my encouragement to you today. Whatever season in life you are in, live in it. Be present in that moment! Be present! Savour every conversation, savour everything you have around you right now, for all you have dear friends, is the present! Come alive! Perfect plans and all, no plan and all, be present, for all you have is the present!

God bless

The price of mediocrity

At work this week, I saw my boss completely lose his marbles over a missing oxygen nipple. This is a small device we use to connect a patient’s oxygen mask to an oxygen cylinder. So there was an oxygen nipple by the oxygen port that runs from the wall, but the oxygen cylinder that was next to the patient did not have a nipple. So my boss, let’s call him Charlie, asked for a nipple for the cylinder next to the patient, so we could transport this patient to theatre, and he was told to disconnect the one from the wall and use that one, for the cylinder. He initially politely refused, said each tank must have its own nipple, and requested that whoever responsible orders one from stores. The one responsible for ordering the nipples did not think it necessary, and hence the losing of Charlie’s marbles.

I have been thinking about that for the whole week, how somehow, as people, we slowly allow compromise to come in, and this eventually leads to mediocrity. Was Charlie right in saying each oxygen cylinder must have a nipple? Absolutely. It’s a no brainer. But here the person meant to order them, thought to herself, why bother myself with such paperwork, when I could always improvise, and use this one instead. Fair enough, but what happens when that patient is transferred to a different hospital, with the oxygen tank, and goes with your nipple?

Maybe not the best of examples, because it may look like a seemingly small thing. But small safety compromises have always been seen to lead to what is referred to as the Swiss cheese effect. When a person thinks, what does it matter if I take this small shortcut, cut the corner here, just this once. And then the next person in the line of trade thinks the same thing, and the next person, and the next, and so on and so forth, until eventually the end user, in this case, the patient, suffers. Imagine having now an emergency situation where u need extra oxygen tanks to give people oxygen in this covid times, and you have to create floors beds for patients, only to find the entire hospital has no oxygen nipples for the oxygen tanks. Simply because of what seemed like an initially harmless shortcut, compromise.

All this led me to think of the personal ways in which I have celebrated, and allowed mediocrity to slowly creep into my life. How many times have I celebrated work even I know is only scraping the surface of my potential, but because I have managed to get away with it, I celebrate it, and continue to spend half my time lying on the couch watching Netflix. How many times have I bought a gift last minute for a special person, and they have been so chuffed with it, yet honestly I know I could have made the gift even more special.

I used to be a very hard worker, believe it or not, lol. One who used to get home, review my day, review my time usage, review the tasks I accomplished and how I could have done them better next time, and review my cases. This year I have been super swamped with work, that I get home feeling so tired that all I do is sit and watch Netflix. Only during the weekend, do I sit and reflect and realize I made the exact same mistake the whole week, wasted time the exact same way, because I did not stop to reflect on my day, as I used to do. Mediocrity.

The biblical story of the guys who were given the talents comes to mind. The one who was given one talent thought to himself, why bother myself with all this work. I will just return that which I have been given ka! Simple simple. Spirit of mediocrity.

Mediocrity is like a fungus. It slowly infests, slowly spreads, and before you know it, it has invaded every single aspect of your life. Clean my room? Nah, I will do that tomorrow. Let me Netflix instead.

Exercise? Nah, it’s hot today, tomorrow. It’s too cold today, tomorrow. It’s raining now, tomorrow. Let me Netflix instead.

Study? Nah. Tomorrow. Let me nextflix instead.

Plan a special Christmas for my family? Make a special present for my boyfriend? Spend time with the kids? Go see my nieces and nephews and plan extravagant treasure hunt games for them? Nah. They will be happy I just managed to show up. Let me netflix instead.

One of the greatest deceptions we have as human beings, I think, is that of owning time. We always think we have time. I will do this tomorrow. Let me not give my best today, for I could always do that tomorrow. Why work today, when there is always tomorrow. It is only when tomorrow comes, and we realize that we have run out of time, that we realize how much time and potential we wasted, and left unexplored. Huswa hwenyati ndehuri mudumbu, huri pamuromo inofa nahwo.

So my word of exhortation today is, as we wrap up the year, let’s take the time to reflect on the things we have done to waste time; on how we have slowly allowed the spirit of mediocrity to creep in, and see all the areas in our lives we have allowed this spirit to infect. Then do a thorough cleaning of every single area of our lives that needs to be cleaned out. We only have one life to live. Let us live it, and live it to the fullest!

Huswa hwenyati ndehuri mumudumbu, huri pamuromo inofa nahwo.

To becoming all we were meant to be in the coming year

God bless

Choices choices

I am always amused at how we as people think it not only our business, but our duty to tell other people how to live their lives. I’m not talking about suggestions here, or advice, no I’m all out for those. I’m talking a how your life should run’ guide book. I must admit, I have been guilty of this myself, trying to control grown people and tell them what they ought to do next. It’s sad isn’t it?

I have often found myself shaking my head in judgement over a decision a friend or relative would have made, simply because that decision didn’t quite suit my taste. I think to myself oh my, I would never be able to live with that! And walk away feeling so superior, yet well, truth is, no-one is asking me to live with that decision. Absolutely nobody!

I had a friendship break down a few years back, because I thought my friend was making a huge mistake marrying the girl he was with. I had my reasons for thinking it was a mistake, I aired them out, and he understood my logic, but decided to marry her anyway. I could not wrap my head around that, and needless to say, the friendship broke down. Anyway fast forward to a couple of years later, and we recently reconnected and had a catch up session, and turns out he is very happy. Yes, the things I pointed out to him as major red flags for me, are some of the things he says are the biggest hurdles they face in their marriage, but he is happy fighting those flaws and does not one bit regret his decision.

That made me stop and think, wow! How wrong of me, to think that something that I cannot handle translates to something that everyone in the world cannot handle. It also made me think deeply about my reaction to everything. Whilst yes, as a friend it was my place to advise him, it certainly was not my place to make the decision for him! My role was simply an advisory one! Which is where we often miss the mark. We take such offense when people reject our advice, so much so that it even results in the breakdown of the relationship. What that says to me is look, my opinion or my advice is worth so much more than our friendship. Therefore if you do not see things the way I see them, then you cannot be in my life.

How many times have you heard someone say, I can’t believe he married her! I mean of all people, her? I have recently (for my own amusement) started asking the question, Oh, did you want to marry her? in response to this statement, and invariably, the other party is taken aback, and says of course not! in a “what an absurd thing to ask”. So, let me get this right, you did not want to marry her, but you do not want him to marry her. You also did not have an alternative girl for this person, but you are still upset that they are together, regardless of how happy they are? I see…

How many marriages have you heard of whereby there is a very strained relationship between the daughter-in-law and the rest of the family because she waited five years before trying for a child? Or because she only had one child. Or because she only had two? We have an opinion about everything that doesn’t concern us, and what is worse is we never try understand why this person is making the decisions they are making. Mwana one chete? Only one child? Sheust be crazy. Meanwhile, she is battling subfertility, and that one child is such a blessing to God for her.

Someone once walked up to one of my friends, put their hand on her belly, and said, you need to start having babies soon, or else your husband shall leave you. This was a random person by the way, a colleague from work whom she wasn’t even friends with. Such careless words absolutely broke her heart because what this random person did not know was that they had been trying for a baby since they got married. πŸ™

My point can be summarized by Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians. He says, Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own money. We are so careless with our words and with the way we handle other people’s matters that we don’t even realize the damage we cause, regardless of how good our intentions. A lot of folks warned me against moving to South Africa, they thought it was one of the worst life decisions I was making, but I moved anyway and have had zero regrets! In fact, it’s one of the best life decisions I have ever made. πŸ˜…

So as the old adage goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and I think we would do well in our day to day relations with other people if we realized that what’s good for me, may not necessarily be good for the other party, regardless of our relationship. My sister squirms at the sight of blood, she never ever could have been a doctor. Likewise, I suck at anything technological, in fact I am convinced technology secretly wages a war against me. Not once have I ever thought my sister should have been a doctor, and not once has she ever suggested I be an I.T. Consultant. Different choices, for different people, and it’s that flavour that makes the world go round.

So folks, in the words of Paul, Make it a point to live a quiet life, and to mind your own business, and make your own living. That way, you will earn the respect of those who are non believers, and will not need to depend on anyone for that which you need.

God bless.

I

Wasted efforts

I was shocked this week when I walked into the office and saw a notice for the annual year-end event up on the noticeboard. The year is about to end, and honestly I don’t know where the time has gone. Its been such a busy year for me, the days have sort of all just fused into one and as I was saying to a friend yesterday, I feel as if I’m just going with the current, head barely afloat. More like only the nostrils are out allowing for air exchange, yet truly it’s been one of those everyday I’m drowning type of feelings.

I was looking at my list of goals for the year, and I’m so grateful to see that I have achieved most of what I wanted to. Yet, the sense of achievement, satisfaction and fulfillment that I thought would come with achieving these goals still eludes me. Driving back home from work today I had to ask myself why it is I felt so… Underwhelmed with my achievements, yet overwhelmed with my day to day tasks and goals? Honestly, I don’t have an answer as yet, it’s an evolving answer, but it did make me think of this boy I had a crush on beginning of the year.

I was semi-obsessed with this guy, whom to be honest, was more a figment of my imagination than anything else. What I mean by that is, he is a real person, was a real colleague, but I hyped him up so much in my head, magnified every single kind thing he did that to me, regardless of how minor, (like his sending me a good morning message, literally, I mean a message that read good morning thoko) πŸ™„; thathe became the perfect mate for me, my white whale so to speak, that the more he showed no interest, the more I was bending over backwards in a desperate (read as pathetic) bid to catch his attention.

Like I said, it’s been a very productive year for me, academically, career wise, mentally, (was even in open comms with a publisher about a book iv sort of written, which all felt surreal to me), yet I found myself thoroughly underwhelmed throughout the year, and I think it’s partially because I had set my eyes set on a particular group of individuals to validate me. Validate my achievements. I laugh now, because I see how sad and pathetic that is, to look to one person for validation, such that all your hard work can count to you as nothing if that particular person does not give you the validation you desire.

A friend of mine was telling me the other day just how we as women do that often. We decide in our minds, that unless Nhingi naNhingi love me, unless so and so notices me and my hardwork, until and unless so and so affirms my good attitude, good works, beautiful looks, then it must mean I am not good enough or beautiful enough or kind enough and therefore not worth loving. Unless Simon marries me, then that’s it, I’m doomed. There goes my dream of a happy marriage. Never mind Tatenda who loves me and we are great friends, and we have fun together, no, he doesn’t have that spark, and it’s only Simon with his one worded replies who can give me that which I want. πŸ™„ So, we set out each day, working twice as hard, bending over backwards to achieve a great deal of things, only to go to bed feeling thoroughly underwhelmed and worthless.

This goes beyond just this poor crush by the way. Even at work, I find myself rubbishing my good work and effort if my direct superior doesn’t acknowledge it, and feeling so satisfied with my half hearted effort if my superior rubber stamps it. It’s a desperate (again read as pathetic) attempt to people please and it’s a rabbit hole.

Someone very special to me has been teaching me about love, and what it means to love. One of the most simple yet remarkable things he said to me was that first, you are accepted, then loved, then taught how to act. You should never feel you need to be taught how to act by someone before they love you, that’s not how it works. Sounds so simple, yet it struck me. We bend over backwards, go out of our way, do all we can to earn the love and affection of someone yet it never should be that way. First you are accepted then loved, then taught how to act.

OK, think of your parents. When you were born, first you were presented to them by the midwife or whoever, and they accepted you and loved you. Only as you grow do they start disciplining you, showing you how to act. But that comes from a place of love. So we should never give so much of ourselves in a place where love and acceptance have not been declared to us. It’s a futile process. Listen, man or woman, don’t spend your hard earned cash buying someone gift after gift after gift, and there is no reciprocation of that love and effort. In whatever form. In Ndebele they have a saying, uyathela amanzi phezu kwedada. You are pouring water on top of a duck. In Shona we say kufuridza zuva, you are hoping to blow out the sun. Futile efforts. It leaves you feeling exhausted, and yet thoroughly underwhelmed and vulnerable.

There is a sermon I recently listened to that said if you shoot your shot in love, and miss, quickly gather your arrows and leave. Go hunt elsewhere. Elsewhere where you will be appreciated. Elsewhere where you will be accepted first, just the way you are, then loved, then and only then taught how to act. The number of people who have given up their hopes and dreams, changed their taste in music, in dressing, changed religions in a bid to earn love from someone, only to crash and fall is a lot. Iv been there, got the t-shirt, and been left scrawling on the floor trying to find myself again after it has all crashed and burnt. It hurts to give so much of yourself, only to find that it’s still not good enough.

As the saying goes, on your best day, you will still never be good enough for the wrong person, and yet on your worst day, you will still be just right for the right sort of person. So back to my feelings for the year, I feel sad to have wasted so much energy seeking validation from people and places which were never going to give it to me anyway, regardless of how hard I try earn it, and I really pray that I learnt my lesson and that you dear reader, don’t make the same mistakes that i have made.

Matthew puts it across so well, he says, do not throw your pearls to the pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

God bless.

Cracked wall paper

There is something about a cracked wall paper, that causes my mind to fixate on the cracks. The minute I notice any crack on a wall, regardless of how small it is, somehow, in my mind it is magnified, such that whenever I walk into that room the first thing my eyes fixate on is the crack. Same applies with nail polish. The minute a crack appears on any one of my nails, it doesn’t matter how small or how insignificant it looks, my mind will fixate on it and it will drive me crazy throughout the day.

I am like that with most things, and also because I am a doer by nature, my next instinct is to try and fix whatever small crack I will have seen which always makes it worse. Always! Possibly because the crack was not a significant one to start off with. If it’s nail polish I try neatly lay on another coat, and the end result is always a large blob which will chip ruining my nails and therefore forcing me to undo the entire nail polish. All because I fixated myself on a minute crack that was on my otherwise perfect manicure.

Recent events got me thinking about this particular character trait of mine and made me realize just how much peace and joy that sucks out of me. Apparently I am a very talkative person. I say apparently because I don’t agree with what my friends and family think, I much prefer to identify as a quiet girl who ocassionally has something to say, but anyway. I replay conversations, events, etc and all the cracks in what I said or did become so apparent to me that instead of me laughing it off, or at best not care and move on with life, I instead rehash the scenarios in my head and I end up so frustrated as to why my brain let me down that I did not say the correct thing. I am still upset with myself that I forgot the cosine rule in my maths O level paper. 😀

It does have it’s perks though, this character trait. In my line of work, it allows me to see potential dangers ahead when the picture is painted, allows me to see the cracks in the painting, and therefore allows me to plan ahead and avert any potential pitfalls or dangers that may have otherwise arisen; however, it is not such a great trait when it comes to interacting with other human beings.

It’s no secret that I love love. I love people being together, I love to hear their stories, to watch them grow and love each other. So it also would make sense that I am forever trying to link up single people. I have had one successful match so far, and that fuels me to keep going. 😜 In doing this, I have found that people often use this character trait of mine that I have spoken about, on other people. People have been speaking about how we are an impatient generation that demands perfection from people, demanding a standard that we ourselves are unable to hold up to.

We read everyday on social media how girls will tell a guy straight up to his face, that he isn’t in their league, only to find out that the girl’s expensive taste and adornment isn’t as a result of her own hardwork, neither is it the result of the hardwork of her parents,but is instead, solely based on her looks. We use our looks to determine what our standard is, wanting to live a “kept” life without having worked a day in our lives.

OK, maybe I have used an extreme example, so will use a simple one. I spoke on an earlier blog post of how people turn down a perfectly good match, giving flimsy reasons such as his accent, the number of siblings he has (yah I eye rolled hard at this one), his background, I was trying to link up one of my bosses with one of my Zimbabwean brothers, and the minute I mentioned he is Zimbabwean, she said no. Zimbabweans will always want you to go back to Zim in December so no. πŸ‘€ And other stupid reasons that we have convinced ourselves of, which keep us from enjoying life.

We build fantasies in our head, of the perfect person, who always agrees with whatever it is you do or say, who is rich, understanding, good looking, fun, etc etc etc, and absolutely refuse to compromise on anything less than perfect, forgetting that we ourselves are far from perfection.

This holds true even in the non romantic type of relationships. We are so quick to judge others after hearing only half of the story, that we don’t even take the time to stop and weigh the situation, but instead will come out with a quick harsh verdict; yet when the tables are turned we cower and demand mercy. This scenario plays out such that in the end, we are forever the victims, and never the villains, and it serves to rob us of joy, peace and intimacy with other people in relationships, romantic or otherwise.

So here is the deal. People are not picture perfect. Real people in the real world lack that finesse that we see on television, that we read about in books whereby the biggest fight between Edward Cullen and Bella was who loved whom the most… πŸ™„ It’s beautiful to read about, it’s beautiful to watch on television, and unfortunately thanks to Facebook and Instagram, other people will give the impression that that is what their real lives are like as well. Its not true.

Real life is dealing with real people who have real issues. Real cracks in the wall, that will never ever give off that perfect finish. So it’s about deciding which cracks you are willing to deal with. A gaping hole in the centre of the wall is an obvious no, so for example if he is abusive, she cheated on you, she lies, he calls your parents names before he has even met them, these are obvious gaps in the wall and you need to just jump ship early whilst you still can. But small cracks are what make life worth living. Any relationship that I have had to hash it out with the person, and it has survived the aftermath of that confrontation, proves itself a solid one and allows a new layer of intimacy to be plastered on.

I will tell you what, I am far from perfect. I have issues, which if my friends and family were to sit down and talk about they would all agree on what those issues were. But what matters is not that I have issues, it’s that they see the cracks in my wallpaper, yet still love me anyway. That right there, is the crux of any relationship. That you see the other person, faults and all, you see the painting on the wall, cracks and all, and yet you still want to buy it.

So I guess I will ask us this? What standards do we demand from people? What image of ourselves do we portray, vis a vis what we really are like? No-one wants perfect. We think we want it, until we have it. It’s like in a vase shop with perfect looking china, it’s nice to see and view and woo and whoa about its beauty, but somehow you would rather not take it home to have the dog eat out of it. You don’t turn to your perfect bowl of china to have soup in when sick. Probably a bad analogy, but intimacy is also kind of like that. If my friend is forever portraying this image of how she has it all together all the time, then it’s very difficult to approach that person with my very imperfect life story, therefore the level of intimacy will have a ceiling.

So look at yourself with the proper eye lenses, identify your own cracks, but also see the perfect picture that is up against the wall, cracks and all. Use that same approach when it comes to interacting with other people. Be careful not to turn down a perfectly good opportunity to friendship, to companionship, to intimacy with someone, because you are hiding your own cracks, whilst magnifying his or hers.

Finally, life is for the living. Only those alive today can make choices, and live life. Live it. Embrace it. Live!

God bless.

Below is a little extract from the book I told you my dear readers that I am Working on. It is a journal entry made by the main character who goes by the name Noku. No, she is not single, hers is a far worse off fate. Lol. And yes, the silence from me is because I have been engrossed in work, life and my book. I do apologize a thousand times. Thank you for always reading my work, for what good is a writer without any readers?

Parched is my soul;

Thirsty, longing for companionship.

Intimacy eludes me.

Beautiful to eye;


Beauty appreciated by all,

Wanted by none.

Blessings rain all around me

Collapsing the tents of others

Mine remains unscathed.

What sin did i commit?

What unforgivable act did those who birth me commit?

Leaving me bound in these shackles.

Prison of appearances;

Appearance of love, of joy, of contentment;

Yet banished to a lonely, love-less existence.

Surrounded by many,

Heart languishing in loneliness.

Smile on my face, tears in my heart

Well has run dry, no physical tears form

Smile Noku, get to work;

Your pain cannot be for all to see.

God bless.

About perseverance

I’ve been thinking about the word perseverance, how it is just a better word when used in the past tense e.g. I persevered and eventually won. It is a word which implies virtue and when used to describe someone it gives the impression of a sturdy person of character. It is a word better used in the past tense because it implies the work that was required to be put into the activity as one persevered, is done, finished and there was a happy outcome. The romantic story of how a guy persevered for years until the girl eventually realized he indeed was what she needed or wanted all along, sounds very romantic, but only when told in past tense by a couple now happily married. In present tense, imagine your brother being hung up over the same girl for five years. I would honestly be done with that conversation and would instead tell him how he needs to move on, how she isn’t worth it, how she isn’t that great anyway, etc etc. But told in the past tense, it’s a very appealing story which leaves us convinced of the love this man will have for his wife.

The present tense use of the word, is a painful one. It is a verb, which means it is a doing word, and the act of peservering is not a pleasant one. I know, because I am in a current season of having to persevere, and have never had to dig as deep into all my inner being to find the will to keep going as I have had to do in the past two years. What amuses me the most is that I did this to myself. For the longest time I have wanted to do a masters degree in anaesthetics. I love anaesthetics, I absolutely love what I do and I took an unconventional route of getting to where I currently am. However, now that I am here, actually doing everyday that which I love, I don’t know anymore hey.

I studied my diploma in anaesthetics in Zim in Bulawayo at a time when it was not popular for people to do it that way. If I had a penny for each time someone had told me I was wasting my time and energy, and would have been far in life had I already joined the program at UZ, honestly I would have quite a few dollars to my name. Yet regardless of a lot of people around me, including my own parents by the way, not seeing the vision I had for myself, I persevered. I had a thriving social life, and because I am a social being, who is fine as long as my social life is thriving, it was not hard for me to find the energy to keep going. Also, I knew that those who were advising me otherwise meant well, so somehow it didn’t really bother me that folks were encouraging me to take a different route to the one I had chosen for myself. It was a risky plan too, but to me, it was simple, move to England, then move to South Africa, then back to Zimbabwe, then retire. Seemed like a good plan to me.

However, life didn’t quite turn out the way I had planned it, so I ended up moving to South Africa first, and was not quite as mentally prepared for the position I found myself in. There is nothing quite like registrar life, which is the fancy word used in medicine to describe a doctor undertaking a masters degree. I won’t Lie, it sucks! It’s stressful. The workload is ridiculous. There is a whole lot more of studying that needs to be done, but no time to do it. You are a grown up, with other grown up responsibilities, but you are expected to work crazy hours, and still somehow find time to study and make presentations and conduct a research, and it’s a lot! I don’t think anything could really help prepare your mind for the journey, and it’s only in walking this journey I have come to understood, and admittedly hate, the verb persevere.

Perseverance is defined as the ability to continually do something, despite difficulty or delay in success. And therein lies the problem. In the definition. Ability to continually do something despite delay or difficulty in success. With everything else i have undertaken in my life, with every other path I have chosen, success may have not been immediate but it was somewhat guarenteed. I would see and note daily progress in the tasks I undertook, and that gave me the ability to keep going, and I defined it as perseverance. But, what I am faced with currently, is a whole new ball game altogether.

I like how this preacher man once put it across. He said, the only way to learn endurance when running a marathon, is to run a marathon. You can listen to a thousand audios on how to breathe, how to pace yourself, how to keep going, but unless you actually run the marathon, it will all not really teach you endurance. So, likewise, unfortunately, I have learnt, I can only learn perseverance by being in situations that will force me to keep going.

Only way to learn a certain character trait, is by being moulded, placed in situations that will force you to become what you desire to become. I love to teach, and all my interns will definitely have one thing in common to say about me, that I am a great teacher. However, my Zim interns would be very shocked to hear their SA counterparts describe me as the one of the most patient registars. Lol. I was very impatient before, and that’s because to me, concepts were easy to grasp and so if someone was unable to grasp them even after repeatedly saying it to them, then it must mean they are acting up on purpose. Haha, I must acknowledge God for his beautiful sense of humour, because now, not only do I find it difficult to grasp concepts sometimes, but I have had my seniors sigh and give me that look that says we have talked about this before but

So folks, unfortunately, the only way to learn certain things, certain virtuous character traits, is to go through the refining fire that form and shape them. The only way to learn perseverance and patience, is to be in a situation that demands that of you. Great way to learn humility, is to sometimes go through stages, where you are at the bottom of the food chain, and absorb the different ways people treat you, and decide for yourself the manner in which you shall treat others when you have the power and authority to be in charge.

I have been the sister I spoke of in the first paragraph, who has out of love, discouraged a one sided relationship, whereby my friend would clearly be head over heels in love with someone not reciprocating the feelings, for years; and I have been pleasantly embarrassed to receive the phone call announcing that somehow, she suddenly woke up, having changed her mind. Perseverance.

So folks, what do want in life? If you really want it, take steps and get that ability to keep going at it despite difficulty in seeing success. In Shona, we have a proverb which goes, sango rinopa waneta, which basically is meant to say, keep going. Persevere! You will obtain that which you desire, and with it, more, because your character would have been moulded, refined into near perfection.

God bless

is

I have been feeling really spent of late. Just done. Done with life, done with the season I’m in and just really hoping for an alternate reality. If asked what exactly about my life I’m currently unhappy with, I could easily summarize it and write it down, which I did, but the problem was, after I wrote it down, I realized I had no solution to any of the things I disliked. Only way out of it was to keep soldiering on. Sigh…

I have been mourning and mopping about my current reality for the longest time, probably since January. (Bless my sisters and cousins and friends for listening in to the constant whining since the beginning of the year). I had exams, and I thought passing my exams would make me feel happier, better, but if anything it’s just worsened the anxiety and stress of deadlines and exposed just how much I don’t know, because as Steven Furtick put it across, the prize for passing calculus 1 is calculus 2. The award for proving yourself a responsible adult, is more responsibility. 😀

I am just tired of being a responsible adult right now. It’s winter here, well, OK, the Durban version of winter which truthfully speaking is the equivalent of a rainy day in any other part of Africa, because it only rains, and becomes overcast but never really gets that cold, but still. It’s “winter” for me here, the sun doesn’t rise until much later, and sets earlier, and all I want to do is just sleep, Wake up, drink some tea and sleep some more, and ignore the pile of work I have to do.

So I am a social being. I thrive around my connections, be it friends or family, I draw my energy from social interactions. Which is what I don’t have in my current season. I have zero random visitors, zero visitors actually, and COVID has not helped make it better, at all. So I have had to learn to make do with technology, try as hard as I can to keep the connections, only telephonically, which isn’t quite the same, mostly because it gives the pressure to always be using words to keep the intimacy flowing. Plus, People are busy, have their lives going on as well, so people aren’t always available for the hour long chats my soul will be yearning for. πŸ™

So, I decided to take up a new hobby, and start penning down a novel. An alternate reality, in which I am in full control of the characters. I shape them, shape their reality, their words and their destinies, and you know what? It’s been awesome. It’s been what has kept me from going insane, and has helped me understand people like JK Rowling, who birthed entire parallel realities at their worst, and people like Charlotte Bronte, whose reality was bad, but she created a worse off reality for her characters so she could find solace in her own story. OK. Wait, I’m not saying what I’m penning down is anywhere near as good as these guys, far from it. But it’s really helped me understand that sometimes, the best of ideas are birthed out of the depth of despair.

So Look. I don’t know what season of life you maybe finding yourself in right now. If its a cold and dry season, I suggest you try work out why it’s a dry season. What exactly is it that’s making you unhappy. Once you have listed what’s making you sad, look to see if there is something you could do to make it better. Any small thing could help. Do you need to talk to someone about it? Do you need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to help you work through stuff? Then finally, I strongly suggest you take up a hobby that will help you find the energy to just keep going, even if it gives you just enough energy to face the day. Find that thing that will make you get through the day; and who knows, Some day you just might be surprised to find that the best idea you have ever had, was that which was birthed during the depth of your despair.

So keep going soldier. You always have a little more strength and resilience within you than you think you have.

God bless.

How not to date

So… I have been having several of the same conversations with my friends lately, and we have been sharing horror stories of dating as an adult. The stories are hilarious, because each time I think I have heard the worst of the worst, there is always more to the story that just leaves me gobsmacked thinking no man, surely people aren’t that intense! And so, tonight, I thought, let me write a how not to date blog. Disclaimer, this is 100% my personal opinion.

So for starters, I know there is a teaching that one ought to know their worth, and be treated as such. Great. I absolutely agree with knowing your worth. But, there is a huge difference between knowing one’s worth, and demanding to have a red carpet rolled out for you simply because you have dared to step out of your house. I have had Guy friends complain to me after a blind date with someone I would have highly recommended they meet and get to know, and the number one complaint has always been, she fancies herself a princess and I her pauper. Demanded that I pick her up, open all doors, take her to a very expensive restaurant, pay the bill, take her home… Guys, all for a blind date?! Is that not a bit much? Look, you are great. Absolutely. But allow someone to get to know you and see for themselves just how great you are without you wanting them to break their wallets on the first encounter with you. Demanding red carpet treatment on a first blind date gives the impression of you being a self centered gold digger, so chill.

2. Don’t say no to everyone. Actually maybe this should have been my first point. I know so many men and women, who are really longing for a companion, but they say no to people who are asking them out on a date. I have heard all manner of excuses, he is too short. She is too dark,too skinny. The silliest one yet, I dislike his accent (really asikana, really?!) And my all time favourite, have you seen his status updates? Looool. Look, the whole point of dating is for you to get to know someone. So what they post only memes on their status updates? Or only scripture? It literally means nothing! Say yes to a coffee date. Take it from there.

3. Don’t do a check list on the first day! Sounds ridiculously controversial right, but look, don’t do it. Rather, don’t be obvious about doing it. I have had guys ask me if I can cook and who does my laundry and cleans my house seeing as I work crazy hours, in a very obvious i am asking if you will be able to cook and clean for me type of manner and i always think to myself dude, chill! You literally see someone checking off things on their list, do you want to get married by the end of the year? do you like kids? Would you want any? Where do you want to stay? Which church would you bring up your kids? Like seriously dude, chill! I came out for a coffee date to get to know more about you not for an interview. I don’t even know if I want to order coffee or tea and here you are asking me to tell you, a stranger, about my life plans, all my past hurts and trauma, on a first date.. Really? I know, it probably sells to say, I knew what I wanted and I went for it. But you know what, honestly, it doesn’t. Folks just leave that date thinking OK tjo, that was intense! Bye Felicia!

4. Christian brothers, please do not ask me how much I love Jesus. Honestly, I don’t know what that means. Is there a scale of love that you keep in your pocket? What things must I tick off on that love-meter of yours to score marks as a Jesus lover? Don’t ask me about my prayer life on a first date, like honestly just don’t please. It’s putting all of us off, and making you feel like there is a bunch of Luke-warm folk out there yet honestly, the only luke-warm thing being served is your conversation starters. I legit have a friend who sent me the questionnaire he received from a girl he had gone on a first date with. It asked things like, when were you saved? Do you speak in tongues? When were you baptized… Like tjo…. Guys, is this what Christian dating is like? Hmm no wonder folks think we be the most boring people alive! Tjo! There is always such a pressure for folks to declare their intentions on a second date and I’m always left thinking, what? Bhudi I don’t even know how to spell your last name kahle kahle but here you are already demanding that I declare my intention. My intent to what exactly? Exclusively date a person I barely know?

5. please be open minded. The reason you are going on a date is to get to know each other. Not to plan a wedding. Conversation flowed on the first date? Great, go for a second. Things are still going great? Great, go for a couple more dates. Really get to know the other person. Yes they say they are like this, but is that what they really are like? The only way to get to know an individual, is to spend time with them, observing them, their mannerisms, how do they spend their time, their money. Who are their closest friends? Don’t rush into anything, regardless of how old you are. Look, I’m not saying some things can’t be good from hello such that 6 weeks later you are exchanging vows, I know a couple who did this. But, keep an open mind, so that if it’s working, great you can make plans. But if it’s not, also great, you can part ways, either way, it’s a win win.

Lastly, throw everything I have said out the window. The simple truth of the matter is, there is no formula these things. You could do all my don’ts, and hit it off with a girl who will say I liked that on the first date he asked me if I could cook. That girl certainly won’t be any friend of mine, but that’s OK. My point is simply this. Live! Live life. Embrace it. This means embracing the person in front of you, taking in their conversation, their company, and trusting God that he will show you exactly what you need to see in a mate, before quickly attaching yourself at him/her. Guard your heart, for from it flows the spring of righteousness. Guard your heart. Don’t wear it on your sleeve, ready to give it to whoever opens the door for you on your first date.

Intimacy is not something you pick up off the shelf in a grocery store. It comes with getting to know someone, spending time with the someone, and creating stories together. So to expect intimacy from the word go, I daresay is to set yourself up for failure. Like all good things, give yourself time.

God bless.

Do not judge

It’s so easy to see someone else’s mistakes. To see exactly where they are going wrong in life, and why the same sort of things keep tripping them up. My cousins and sisters, bless them, but how they put up with my constant nagging is a miracle. I am always nagging them to change the way they do things, to live a little, to go out more, to meet more people, to go out on plenty a number of dates… I recently nagged a good friend into opening a tinder account, and she has actually started going out on a few dates as a result of that, and when someone asked me why I hadn’t opened one up myself, I had the perfect ten thousand excuses lined up. Truth is I did try, but just setting up that profile left me feeling so exhausted and drained I thought nah God, too much work.

It just is easier to see someone else’s errors in life, and be quick to come up with a simple solution and think, man, if I had your problems I would be fine, all the while ignoring all the many issues you have. I have been reading the books of genesis this year, yes for the past full 4 months, because sometimes I don’t like what I read and I reread it to try understand exactly what sort of God would allow Rachel to fall in love with Jacob, only for her to be the second wife because her own father did her gangster, and then close up her womb because the first wife, who is her sister by the way, is not loved by Jacob. Umm how is that my fault God? She the one who went in and married my boyfriend behind my back, ok… πŸ’†πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ And then finally God gives her kids, and wait, there is more, because she then dies whilst giving birth to her last child. Hayi hayi hayi, no! What is that?

Then there is this guy by the name Judah, Jacob’s son. His two sons die, and as customary law then had it, he had to give the wife of the first son to the remaining son for her to bear children, but he is not interested in honouring that, and instead of him outright saying bru, sorry but I’m a sleeze, he sends his daughter in law away promising to call her back soon as his son is ready for marriage. Daughter in law knowing full well that this dude was a sleeze bag, who had no intention of fulfilling his promises, makes a plan, disguises herself as a prostitute and sleeps with Judah, her father in law, and falls pregnant. I swear you would think I’m describing some Shonda Rhimes series here! Now here is the kicker – When Judah hears that his daughter in law is pregnant, he calls for her to be stoned to death, and he was the one to cast the first stone. Wow!!!!

The hypocrisy in that. Wow! I read that and was like wow Judah wow! The ending is sweet, in that daughter in law had concrete evidence to show that she was pregnant by Judah himself, to which he then goes, oh you are much more righteous than I. Lol! End of drama.

Now iv been thinking about that a lot. About how we sit on our high horses, judging other people, and their actions, and we become completely oblivious to our own sin and hypocrisy. We are so quick to lay a heavy charge on others and expect them to know and do better that we forget they too are human just like us, and if everything were to be exposed to the light we would probably find this person we are so quick to judge and accuse is more righteous than us! I mean can you imagine Judah throwing that first stone to stone someone to death for adultery when he himself was the chief adulterer?

A friend of mine Tendi, once wrote this on her blog and I shall end this blog post with that, for your reading pleasure:

I like to listen to music when I am working and today I was listening to some old school Lecrae when I heard a song I’ve heard a gazillion times, but today it hit me a little differently. He said that we ask God to erase evil and yet we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The sin I hate in the world is the sin God hates in me. If God were to erase sin and evil where would we like him to draw the line? Rapists, liars, cheaters and politicians? What about my sin; my little white lies, impure thoughts and unforgiveness? Is my sin less offensive because it’s harmless in my eyes? What about those who are disregarding instructions to practice social distancing or quarantine themselves? The selfishness that makes good people hoard resources leaving nothing for the less fortunate? Or businesses that value the next dollar over the lives of its employees?

What category of sin gives me the right to point a finger at someone, and leave myself completely exonerated?

Matthew 7:1″Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Remember, whenever you point an ugly finger at someone, you have three pointing right back at you!

God bless