Teenage crush

I was a child,naive and untrained in many ways. Love was only an abstract existence that I hope would make sense some day. But on my calendar, I had already erased the thought of some day. In growing and learning, I found you in a place and time that I was wanting. You were like my fairytale princess, but I wasn’t worthy to be your charming. But if you pricked your finger on the needle of the spinning wheel, I will give every kiss to wake you. Sunshine was your colour and the only words you said were a pile of smiles beneath your endearing baby eyes. If I stared long enough into you eyes, my iceberg would melt; but I was a child collecting emotions and memories in a basket of feathers in exchange for a few quiet night rest.

It was that time when spots tried to rob our faces of their innocence. Self-shame began to creep in and made me aware of my thoughts. Love was sprouting inside; it beats faster whenever my hands brushed against you. I would steal time trying to make sense to you, hoping you’d see and save me from the torture of being a child. I’d hope you looked into my eyes; they were my mouth whenever courage fled.

Courage was my favourite companion, but somehow it always bailed out on our little talks. It always left fear spilling like glue around my lips and caused my knees to find solace in rattling against each other. Love was a burden, showing it was strength. If I ever said it, you would think I was child. If I ever wrote it, you would say it was a lullaby. I wished you trusted my hands enough to paint this picture on your heart, it would have made soft arches on the corners of your lips for that knowing smile you always wore and put a periscope in your eyes to know if you knew and felt what I felt. But I gave up fighting courage and decided to live outside the cot. Even though there may be no happily ever after for this, I will always know that I was a child learning to dodge Cupid’s arrow, only to be struck by yours.

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You died in my eyes

You lived in my eyes, you said my heart didn’t hold enough room for you and your love weighed more than a pile of Lead.

You pitched your tent on the one spot that was obvious and hoped it would remind me of your presence; I guess I was blind to that.

Light was food to your soul and skin, but I loved to chill in the night and starved you. I guess I just didn’t care.

I bought that thick shade for summer, but thought it was best for Autumn in my upside-down corner.

Now I wear it even in the darkroom just in case it threatens the images in my eyes.

Even today when I turned back the lights and saw the leaves all withered and brown on the mat, it didn’t matter much; this was Autumn after all, but you died of the darkness in my eyes.

Without a thought I swept it all into the bin.

All that was left of you was a bunch of stark naked and defenceless branches that stood no chance in the rain.

Now when the wind blows, it rips through me and lifts every pile of emotions and reminds me of the place where you once stood breaking the wind and not letting the rain in.

Here, emotions walk unclad with no dignity and shame and guilt trace every corner of this lens.

If holding onto these branches are enough sacrifices, then let the rains come.

I’m finding purpose for these hands again holding onto you and as long as Venus twins with earth and the elements are on your side these eyes are for you alone now, until the universe says otherwise.

The Rebirth

Silence shimmers through the ripples of our thoughts, revealing the things we said in the night in whispers that sat on the winds of Dusk.  The wishes we made on the bow in the rain came like a flash of the morn in the starless night. We found hope of a rebirth and comfort in the things we hid in our eyes, beneath the tears; the mangled stories of never holding. We fall prey to the tale of having and losing. In the thoughts of rebirth of the life we cherish and hold only as fantasy, there is no place for such bed in this world. So, we run, we bend and then break like trees standing up to the feisty Autumn wind. The chaff that is our remains is sprayed across the unimagined corners of the earth and we are alive again! We live, we love a little more, we breathe and we keep the search for our world. We challenge the universe to a fight. Only this time, I stand and fight alone. This is the afterlife and I wait for your return. the-rebirth

On Cúl De Sac Street

On Cúl De Sac street where we first met,

with tongues tracing the architecture of the other’s lips,

eyes with x-Ray searching the other’s soul for answers

to questions that were raised like hopes only to be dashed.

Our hands clasped tight like braids around the other finding the Hollows and curves.

That was when I felt it! A lump in my neck.

A beauty for a face and a sponge for a heart,

taking in everything but holding on to none.

The catastrophe that would ruin this beautiful hollow

cannot be imagined in metaphors.

It is fear!

 

You are a swarm of hyperboles surrounded by a bubble waiting to pop.

I am here just recovering from a recoil of your undertones.

From your bosom love sold for a penny on the fallen autumn leaves

and your eyes are a cinema for eternal lust played only in X-D.

Your lips dealt no mercy to trust and truth.

Our story is a counterfeit of the pads on your comely bosom and behind.

 

Here, now at where nothing begins and remains, is buried deep our memories.

A ragged pile of treasure clothed with the dust of guilt and self.

I wish the red skin-piercing wind of the harmattan

to suck you into a vortex at the heart of a desolate desert

and a reflection of this day eternally appears before you.

Be gone to a land where the sun never shines.

 

On Cúl De Sac street, heartbreak taught a lesson to lust.

 

Letter to my songbird pt 3

Today, as I walked back to town through the woods, I heard the birds chirp of a tale! The tale of an unseen beauty. My ears popped and my heart glowed with eagerness and confidence . They spoke of one whose feet were so tender on the earth that they left no prints- except her lively presence- on the sands. I heard the sunbird call out out to the wood pecker as it flew from the oak to the mahogany “she’s the fairest of them all”. She said to him “her breath exudes life and freshness on these trees, can’t you see how they sway in glee when she walks through them?” Only a soul as true to nature and love hers would scatter seeds of love upon the grounds for us even in her misery. He sang with so much certainty and aptness that I knew you were the subject of his song! The birds have also fallen in love with your heart.
Just then, the beam of smile on my face seem to disappear; I heard in a hushed voice as the sunbird whispered into her companion’s ear “she sits under this shade everyday and weeps. She sings of a love so close yet impossible and the trees cry alongside”. I heard them chirp about a beauty clad in clouds of fear and how she’s being hunted by an army of enemies seeking to bring her to their prince – the man who stands between our love- for a bride. My legs grow weak, I am unable to carry on my journey home. I will make my abode under the mahogany tree. Perhaps, you will come to sing your tears to the trees again tonight.
Your love is alive! Even nature sings of it.
I love you.
❤️

Letter to my songbird pt2 

I tried not to think about you all day,Once I do it feels like an IV line of caffeine running through my veins. Still, I know that every dash of sleep I loose thinking about you, you have saved up 10-folds in your arms. I left for home earlier than usual Today, I felt you might be in some danger. When I arrived I saw a piece of your gown torn from your struggle to break free from whatever and whoever tried to hold you captive.
It is the closest I’ve come to seeing and holding you, but I’m going to embalm every fibre of this piece and pray that one day, it will awaken your love and you will come right here; under this tree where it hangs in search of my heart. Am I not worthy to behold such beauty that visits the earth once in a lifetime?

These folks will never understand our kind of love.
But as I lay here in the comfort of this wool and feather, I hear you call out again and I get a wetness dripping on my heart; only your tongue can kiss it dry. I feel the flood of tears racing down my cheeks and your hands alone can build a dam out of it. I hear we can source the power to stir this ship IF we are true to our hearts! Here’s mine; a river of tears and a spill of untainted love! Cup them in your hands and let them run down your bosom. I saw you again last night, but your voice sounds subdued and your words laboured

My songbird, I hope the world has been fair to our love.
❤️❤️

Letter to my songbird Pt1

Lost loveTo the one whose name I know not as I speak, the one
whose elusive identity hunts me ,
my mysterious songbird, the unknown lady of hearts that resides in the cave beneath my heart! When will you reveal yourself? When will your face and beauty flurry across the earth and  we become one; as the sun and moon? When will this painting on my heart come alive? The day that never begins is creeping upon us and the summer might not bid us come but I’ll wait here, in patience and love till you find your way to the door of my heart.

I want a love so soft it melts the heart and drips from the mouth,

To lay In arms so warm and tender they soothe my pains.

I long to kiss those lips that tell no lies and spend a thousand years in those eyes that never grow old!
I need you! I love you ❤️

Did Disney lie about perfect endings?

Some folks say love conquers/covers everything, while others see love in everything and it is tough to decide which group to follow. I doubt if anyone knows the story of how the rose came to be the flower of choice to show love – as beautiful as it appears, as alluring as the fragrance may smell, intricately woven between the flowers and petals are thorns. As I sit here with my legs stretched out in the foamy bath, I am constipated from the horrors of the last 48 hours. My intestines are almost turning inside out, the veins in my head are shooting up above their roots and my eyes look very turgid!  I had set out to give myself a dose of hydrotherapy by alternatively draining my parched body with equal amount of hot and cold water. During a camp out, I learnt the benefit of this home-made remedy especially for relaxation and rehabilitation. This was not the first I was employing this technique to release stress. Today however, it didn’t seem to be working. I know they say people who sleep over problems tend to look agitated and worried all the time, but I have barely slept these 48 hours- 4 hours does not count- so I haven’t really had time to lay over this.  In recent times, it would be the closest I have come to losing my sanity.  It might seem a lot to many, but when you squeeze four journeys into that time, it becomes a nightmare. You are left with less than 4 hours- spent between mealtime, shower and 2 hours of near-torture trying to get past the bruises of the day and sleep.  Here I am, caught in the web of another’s affairs. The dividends of staying a single man for the past couple of months are starting to pay off somehow despite the constant yearning for some sort of companionship. This would have made more sense if what I am about to do had nothing to do with flashes of my past relationships.  I am aware that things may go sourer between Uche* and Tope*, they have been in my life and I have been in theirs for 3 years. As a matter of fact, I would like to think myself as  an integral part of their now-fading romance. Matches are not made in heaven and theirs’ was no different, I played the middle man. I knew how much they loved each other, what each one wanted for a birthday present and how much they hurt from their love. Now I feel the guilt of their hurt growing inside me like cancer because I pitched them together.

Today, on my way home they had both rang me at different times -I was the one confidant they had that never took sides. I have been fortunate to see and say things the way they were with this duo.  Just last month Uche had tried to put me up with Tope’s best friend with the hope of a double date. I was still in a bad place and not ready to start dating again. They obviously had hopes of something positive coming off it considering how much work Tope put into this act. It was her way of paying me back for sticking her up with Uche for the past 3 years. Tope and Uche believed the past 3 years had allowed to them know my taste in women. When I didn’t call Nosa* back after the date, Tope had blamed Uche for not playing his part in the mission. This created a crack in their relationship which couldn’t stand against the storm they faced in the coming weeks. They couldn’t believe that after 3 years, they were seeing each other for who they really were. I blamed myself a thousand times for believing that this was the perfect match. As I ready myself to meet with Tope and Uche, I am uncertain what to say to them. I didn’t want to push them harder than they have been pushed and couldn’t bear to see them apart.

I did not want my emotions to come between this talk- straight to the point and without mincing words was the only approach. I had listened to both versions of the story and did not want to be caught pointing accusing fingers. All I wanted to do was make two friends realise that what they had was way worth more than what they thought they needed. Between Tope and Uche lay 3 years of trust, commitment, hurt and being their own back support! With this vivid image of their romance, I didn’t want to be the one trying to mend a broken mirror. I couldn’t stand seeing trying to make it work! So here is what I had to say to them!  “This is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about what is right and what is wrong! In a relationship people are happy as long as the moment feels right that they very rarely think of uncertain moments like this. They spend times buying roses and appreciating the petals without pausing for once to consider the thorns! The beauty of the rose does not necessarily lie in its blooming petals, but in the very delicate and intricate relationship that exists between the flower and the thorns. No matter how spooky the thorns on the rose are, it is not big enough to scare the florist away. So what if this is one the thorns pricking you and trying to stop you from budding into some concentric bloom of petals? Even though Tope and Uche decided to go on some leave that night, they left me feeling better and lighter within. Most of all, they left feeling better and were all cheers.  Their mistake? Wanting a perfect relationship! If there are no arguments the fire of love dies. If there are no misunderstanding, both lovers would live with little knowledge of the other person.  May be if Uche and Tope had thought of moments like this, they would have had a different perspective to this thorn.

Sleeping beauty, Snow white, Cinderella all had their “happily ever-afters”- their prince charming  came to their rescue. What if your prince charming never comes? What if you never get to meet that flawless fairy tale princess of your dreams? Would you abandon your ship and stay a single man?  I would rather hold onto love even for that one bit of goodness in a person than magnify their wrongs! People are afraid of heartbreaks so they don’t give thoughts to the “what ifs”! Only a broken heart can be mended and a heart that has yet to be broken may not know the real depth and texture of love.  Nobody wakes up one morning and sets out to fall in love! Love comes when it will because it has a mind of its own! And unlike humans, it does not second guess its intention. Unfortunately, many people do not realise that that which keeps the heart pumping may in effect also thump it down. It’s been some weeks since Uche and Tope took some time to each be on their own and I was starting to be hopeful again- the optimist in me had started building castles in the air and making plans for some night out. I was also hoping to bring Nosa with us. May be that could scatter more smiles on their faces. But as I conclude this piece, Uche and Tope have both decided to experience life with other people-my perfect match has been shattered. Now I know there are no perfect matches! There are only normal couple working through their differences, looking out through their storms and seeing the best in each other.

May be Disney did not entirely lie after all, maybe there are happy endings, maybe there are perfect matches! But what if “happily ever-afters” and “perfect matches” exist but they do not exist for every one of us? What if the place called “happily ever-after” only exists in the mind – only to be experienced but not seen?  How about you live life knowing that affection triumphs over perfection and that it is far more profitable to love an imperfect human “perfectly” than to live a solitary life in search of a flawless love.

*not their real names

“Me-time” – Think about your thoughts

The making of a person begins from the inside. The physical manifestations are projections of tiny pictures pieced together to create the perfect collage. Humans are wired in a way that  every voluntary action follows a thought-process. It is therefore not strange to hear people talking about “giving it a thought” or “sleeping over an issue”.  It is crazy how one can think about their thoughts. Right? Well, it is a concept known as meta-cognition. Here is the thing “thoughts together with genes make a man”!  This higher level of thinking is the reason for high level performance in advanced species including the supposedly super humans.  We do not necessarily become what we allow into our minds, but what we constantly play in our minds. It usually takes more than a second thought to convince ourselves that we have set out on the right path. I don’t always believe everything I think, so I think twice at least. “me-time” helped me realize that I needed to think about my thoughts more often.

I had just come home to spend the mid-term break (holidays) with my family as a third year student after a very tasking half term. There were assignments and crafts works waiting to be done. Most of all, I had a heap of dirty “it-was-white” clothes that direly needed my attention. The more I thought of how to face these tasks, the more I found myself considering other alternatives. I’d rather spend the 7-day holiday rummaging through the junks I haven’t seen in the last 13-weeks. I crossed the line when I decided to look through big-sister’s bookshelf! What I found was a life changer – a diary with a lock that one could easily mistake for Pandora’s box. To my disappointment, the diary was securely locked and there was no getting into the juice inside. Luck was on my side there was no one else at home.

After struggling to break into the secret life of my sister, it was time to give up. I decided to move on to other piles of book in the shelf when I discovered a tiny key; without doubt I knew it was the key for the diary. I dived into the diary – something I am thankful I did even though it came at the cost of being nosy.  Just like I thought, it was a treasure box!  Ada had penned down some lovely words of wisdom addressed to herself.  I made short work of the rest of the pile and returned to her bed with the diary, eager to digest every bit of it. Apparently, I only needed the first page to reshuffle my priorities. It was the first time I read the words of Frank Outlaw –“watch your thoughts, they become your words” you know the rest. Right below it was the poem “Little drops of water” by J.A. Carney! I was having a quiet time with my thoughts in what seemed like an out-of-body field.

I made a meal of both notes, there was no need rushing through them. It was like finally finding water after a long walk through a barren waste with no taste of water. I imagined it like water – soothing and coating the lining of my gut.  Those were all I needed to make the last 3-days of my holiday worth my while. I took my habit of critical thinking to a whole new level where I was able to reflect on my own thoughts. I was going to borrow a leaf from my elder sister and keep a diary of my activities and write myself notes of wisdom.  The only difference was I instead chose to keep a record of my thoughts – the most I could remember. The big question at the end of the day was “how did I get here”? “Why would I think of this”?

There was not a single thought that sipped through my mind that was not met with square scrutiny, neither was there any actions and results that did not have a share of reflection. The stone was set in motion, and I was becoming a near-perfectionist and consciously filtering what I fed my mind and eyes. That was the genesis of the self-administered therapy sessions that I now have on a regular basis – me-time.  More often than not, we find ourselves in the circle of our friends, that we almost forget what it feels like to be alone with our thoughts. How are we supposed to live life when we have made little or no time to think about life? No one is supposed to go through life without writing a recipe for him/herself with intentions of passing it down to the younger generations.  Do not let your circle of friends and daily task swamp your thoughts! Save your thoughts and think about them during your “me-time”.

When life gets tough and unbearable and dark thoughts start to climb through your ladder of hope, when it seems that you have been hanging on to the cliff longer than eternity that letting go seems to be an easier option, when the bad energy from friends and loved ones are constantly tearing you apart and you are forced to consider meeting their darkness with vengeance- stop and think! Reconsider your thoughts and evaluate the situation that may have caused you to have such thoughts. Don’t fold in! Go for a raise and give yourself that last winning chance.  Be able to create a corner for yourself in that tight corner and squeeze your thoughts in and through it! Every little time you invest in your thoughts, yields dividends with great returns. Pour yourself a glass of your favourite non-intoxicating drink, leave your favourite playlist on and get in that hot, foamy bath! Turn on your “me-time”, turn off the world and put on your thinking cap!

Unfortunately. I didn’t get to look through the rest of the diary, I know there was definitely more than I had found. Time was not a luxury! Ada hates it when people go through her stuff in her absence-especially Eze who has very destructive hands. I returned everything on the shelf to their original place. Except Pandora’s Box!  If I only I had reconsidered that thought, I would have had the opportunity of enjoying more life changing notes. That little treasure box found its way into the hands of someone who I suppose found the treasure I discovered in it too. It was stolen when I got back to school and I never got to apologise to Ada, besides she never asked. So I am writing this to apologise to her for going through her shelf stealing “Pandora’s box” and allowing someone else to steal it.

To stay winning, you must stay consistent in your positive efforts! Re-think and re-invent your thoughts. Do not let anyone or anything drive you crazy- stay in charge of your mind. A sound mind keeps a healthy body running. Get your daily dose of “me-time” to stay sane and focused.

Letter to a lost love

My heart is a broken mirror, every piece holds a perfect reflection of you!

It is a canvas, every stroke and every splash of colour blends into a perfect image of you.

My thoughts are empty and bland, but your memories fills them up with fragrance

Then I start to sink in this ocean of emotions under the weight of your love.

I wish to set my heart free from yours as I speak these words,

But it feels like cutting myself open.

I hope that someday you will find these words and return here,

To this  tree where we first made  memories.

Again, I hope that you don’t shed my love from your heart as this tree sheds its leaves,

I wish that winter and autumn be banished  from her eternally,

I wish to curse her with the soothing sunshine of Summer  and the lifelines of spring.

Don’t steer me away from the door of your world,

Give wings to my thoughts, till they collide with the world hidden beneath your heart!

Let them find succour in the chimes of your heart and the rhythm of your life.

You reside in my head and make my heart your leg rest,

I’m caught in your webs, and there’s no getting out.

Valentines will come and go, but this – the song in this heart will remain!

Love me now, love me always.

The small victories

On this side of the mountain where I have learnt to live, little seems to be happening here. No one wishes to be on your side except you are winning. They want to associate with the obvious success. No consideration is given to the battles fought and won in the dead of the night- the fiercest of our struggles are not faced in the open after all. No one sees the wounds we have been blessed with by our inner demons as a result of the constant struggle to break free. We are quickly pushed aside without a second thought. We find ourselves in valleys and soon get comfortable with life! It is ok to be content with present situations but we must exercise patience to get to the next stop. Somehow, those well-earned scars are victories that are worth celebrating.
That shimmering hot summer afternoon in Oxford Circus taught me a lesson of a lifetime. Like most students, I longed for the summer months. They are almost inarguably my favourite time of the year. I get to spend weeks with my cousin Sarah. We take turns making breakfast and getting small Eze to be at his best. Today, Sarah was kind enough to mind Eze so I cashed in on the opportunity of a long day spent on the streets of central London. I caught the train and headed to Victoria with Inferno-my travel companion. Dan Brown has a way of pinning me down each time I pick up one of his works. Inferno like “The Da Vinci Code” was spell binding. Every page had a magnetic feel. It didn’t take long before I began to think myself as Robert Langdon. Now in Dan Brown’s make believe world, I found myself in a different realm. It seemed only like seconds since I boarded the train from Norbury station that I heard the voice from the automated sound systems on the train announce “we are now approaching London Victoria”. Thanks to Dan Brown, the 30 minutes journey didn’t seem that long any more- a great start to the day I thought to myself. I made my way to the door and exited the train with a throng of impatient tourists looking to enjoy the London fever. Today,It is taking longer than normal to get through the gates. Compulsively, I flung right back into Inferno to get full details on Robert and Sienna’s adventure in Florence. If I had foreseen the next incident, I would have waited till I got to the lounge to continue my fun.
Midway into my little world – it doesn’t take me long to get frenzied by Dan Brown, I heard what would rank as the most demeaning racial insults hurled at me. I straightened myself and turned towards the 5ft 9 figure, not much taller than I am. Anger and vengeance boldly smeared all over me. I was going to make him pay for his sins and those of his like. Just an air-thin distance from him, a thought hit the back of my head. “Eze, you won’t succumb to this shameful victory. You cannot give him an edge over you. Hold your own, don’t give in to the pressure”. In that split moment, I made a robotic turn from him. The excitement on the faces of the other passengers had been replaced with a miserable shock – they would have probably thought me a coward. I walked right back to my spot, the queue had disappeared by now. I was hurrying past the waiting lounge into the underground to clear my head and of course get back to my travel companion on the train to Oxford. Some hand from behind tapped me and I turned to see a young lad probably in his late 20s. It was him- the guy who had tried to crush me with his words couple minutes ago. In no mood for petty talks, I tried to untangle from his attention. He followed me-head on relentlessly telling me “I am sorry for what I said earlier! You are some strange guy, you did something I have rarely seen”. Now he had my attention, he didn’t look like the devil I had seen back there after all. We talked throughout the journey to Oxford circus. This was not the first time someone was “trying” to make me feel less of myself by hitting me with racial comments. Unlike previous experiences, today I am feeling better. I am not trying to stop my poor heart from crying. I didn’t let my emotions get the better of me. Times without number, I have resolved to take a calmer approach and not hit back at racial comments. After a long struggle, I was finally able to do that today. The fact that I was able to walk away in that split moment without uttering any word was a big slap of shame on his face. He was obviously having a bad day and I have helped lift the clouds out of his face. I killed two birds with a stone! The reward for my win, over rage and vengeance, couldn’t come have any sooner – happiness and self-satisfaction!
The greatest victories are often not evident in the results! They are the baby steps-the decision to succeed. They are not always the absence of failure! They are a culmination of silent tears, tough decisions, calculated efforts, persistence and patience. For some, success is an end and eventually becomes part of their blueprint. To others, it is a journey. It may seem life has been very surreptitious to you and you are hanging on to the tiny thread of hope contemplating whether to let go or cling even tighter. Remember that giving up is as tough a battle as holding on. Overcoming your fears of failure or winning the struggle with bad habits is worth celebrating. Don’t walk away from a lifetime of happiness by failing to celebrate your seemingly little victories. My encounter at London Victoria brought me to a realisation that I could not win the world around me if I could not conquer the world within. The reason we often miss the “little” victories is because we have set ourselves on a path to prove people wrong. The only person I want to dare every day is the man in the mirror! Like Serena Williams not needing a trophy to announce herself a winner on making a return to Indian Wells after a 14-year absence following a racial abuse, I am starting to enjoy the smaller victories even more without any acknowledgement from anyone.
No one is less of a human because of their skin colour! Neither religion nor lifestyle preferences can make us super humans. When I look around, I do not see colour, religion, age, gender or lifestyle choices. I see a world of people in need of love.

Alone or lonely?

For the first in time a very long while, loneliness has become my greatest companion. She wakes besides me and stares me in the eyes every morning.  When the day is done, she greets me welcome. My heart does not flinch at this strange romance- it is what it is. I tell her how uneventful the moments have become, I cry my woes into her eyes. She sits and listens. Hands to the hips with bright scary eyes waiting for the slightest sign of weakness. She sees that I am weak and leaps for joy. I tell her everything- even the most horrible things. She laughs and giggles at the mess of my story. I try not to cry. I cling tight to my fainting heart. Even that, is not strong to contain the rush and weight of emotion that I pour into it daily.  I run back to her, I seek her out. The walls are stretching farther from me. I am all by myself, I live in my head. I paint pictures of memories that are best shared with loved ones-they are the perfect moments.  I see people every day, focused on the days work. They sit by my side on the bus, they walk beside me on the streets. Some even spend time talking with me-but I only see lips moving up and down. They are not as engaging as my mistress. They bore me pretty fast-they scare me and I want to be with her again. I know I cannot continue to run back to her; she never utters a word, yet she feeds on me. She thrives on my strength. She lives off my powers-imaginative and real. But last night, I returned from the shower and peeked into mirror and was petrified! I almost jumped out of my skin.  It is not me I see, but her. I am starting to look like her. I saw in the mirror- ice for a heart and steel for eyes! How did I get here?  I am caving in! There’s so much pain and emptiness inside. I hide it all beneath a broad smile- I am good at disguising my feelings. I am just like the regular guy. Everyone thinks I am fine, they buy into the lie of my smile, just the way I want it! I cannot show weakness.

I am screaming at her, asking her what she has done to me. She never speaks, she turns her back on me. Today, I said I was not going to run back to her. I am going to make her beg to leave. I am going make her feel a bit of the loneliness she has inflicted on me. I am going to talk to real people, even though it doesn’t make sense. I am going to have that laugh and show my lovely smiles- they haven’t seen it a while. I am getting ready to leave and she’s tugging at my pants. “There’s no better place to go, there are no real people. No real friends! I am the only friend you have-the only that loves you”! I believe her for a split second and we are back like old times. But it doesn’t last!  She is what she is-selfish, life-sucking bastard! I start to count the hours and days I have spent with her; days that turned out shallow. Hours that stretched into days, I was relentless in pouring out my heart with no measure into a basket. I am furious!  I can feel the pangs of anger and I feel my face dilate and my palms wet.  Today, I am going to make it hard for you to hate me. You are going to want to leave, but sorry Miss- the doors are closed. I will make sure you feel every ounce of pain, neglect and rejection you hipped on me. This room will take up the size of the universe and you will be the sole occupant. You are trapped! I am gaining more willpower every second- I can feel something moving inside and around me. The hairs on my skin start to flick up. I look into the mirror again. This time I did not scare myself, because I have awoken this monster before.  Courage was thrown under the weight of the rumbles from my life and I sat and watched and could not even lift a finger to save him. That day, as Allen left for California, I quickly backed away from him.  I lost the courage to face being alone. It’s been a long time coming. I knew it was going to happen but failed to prepare for it. I am in tears on the phone with mum. I tell her “it is going to be a tough battle for me”. I know I am strongest when I have family with me. But, he’s just left- now I have to rely on the power of one. I got home that early morning from the airport and flung myself right under the duvet and cried myself to sleep. Forgive me, but family means everything to me. Every day, I tell myself, I am not mourning him. I remind myself that he misses me too. Then I remember how hard he laughed when I told him I cried like a baby seeing him go.  Now as always I am alone, but the difference is, I am starting to put work into that space. I am trying to give it some meaning- to make it have shape and form. I spend more time with real people-my friends. I open up and let them see how much torture I have been/put myself through. They listen, they let me lean on their shoulders. They tell me it’s going to be alright. Then they pat me on the shoulder and say “you are strong, talking is a sign of strength”.

With Allen gone, there will be no more breakfast for two not even those long evenings spent on the streets of Dublin and Waterford. I was alone. And lonely.  I always knew that being alone was my decision- I could get away and hang out with friends. I was overwhelmed by the presence of his absence that I started to feel lonely. It is driving me nearly over the cliff- I almost fall. I hang in there, holding tightly to a fragile piece of support hoping that it does not crack under the weight I felt within. I am not looking to fill the void within, I want to feel it. Pain deserves to be felt. I want that part of me that says “I am wounded but I can be mended”.  No single person is supposed to go through life alone. We are like a network of cells! We need each other. Somehow, some folks have found themselves at the deep end and are taking solace in the arms of my Mistress. If life puts you in a tight corner, and coerces you into being alone, you have the power to resist the loneliness that will soon creep in.  Being alone, is a physical kind of punishment/opportunity and most people like myself have found their strength through that experience. Loneliness however, resides in the head! She tells you she is real! In actual fact, she doesn’t exist. You only see her in the mirror as a reflection of yourself. Smash the mirror in your head and she’s gone.

Time and space will betray you. You will realise that even in the midst of about 7 billion persons you can still be alone. When you are getting through that break-up, that rough patch, the feeling of betrayal from a friend – take some time to be alone. Enjoy the walk in the space! Even friends need time to be alone; to walk on themselves and their friendships.  Quality times spent alone can be a revelation of the strength that lies within, but you must also ensure that the “me-time” is aptly fed with positive emotions.  You must be prepared to deal with being alone! Don’t desert yourself when you need you most. Be your companion, tell yourself you don’t need that extra pinch of misery in your life. You might not be fortunate to have the friends I have, so you must learn to be a shoulder for yourself to lean on. That is the only way to keep the Miss away.  A number of persons refusing to take some time and be alone with their thoughts-to better themselves have found that they were prone to make mistakes. You don’t just jump from one relationship/friendship into another. You need some time to learn why the previous one crashed! That is why life is built with speed bumps. You must stop, feel the pulse!  Savour the serenity of the moment, think and then push so you won’t get crushed in the rush! To leave you today here is what I have to say “don’t let the desperation of not being alone push you into settling for someone instead of the-one”. She was here today when I was alone.  She crept in to check on me-her ex-lover. You should have seen the look on her face when she couldn’t trace weakness on my face. I am having the last laugh! These days, I know that I am alone, but loneliness has no room here.  Somehow, we can choose not to be alone! That in itself is enough strength to face loneliness. Get out and become a master of your fears.

The Sandwich Filling

The other day, I was rushing out of the lecture room to grab lunch. I was dead starving. It felt like those hunger pang people get after a hangover; even though I don’t drink. A voracious feeling enveloped me and I could have devoured two large pizzas at that moment. Making my way to the school’s cafeteria for a semi-well-cooked lunch, I ran into a classmate who talked me into getting a sandwich instead. I have a huge crush for Panini and hot chicken wraps; the traditional sandwich does not really appeal to me in any way.  Like most students, I cannot always resist the temptation of a mouth-watering deli, so we went to the deli.  I didn’t need time to decide what I wanted to get. Panini of course! Nothing more, nothing less. As I watched the lady prepare my special, carefully picking out each of the fillings I requested and tucking them away between the Panini, I realised that I only wanted a Panini because of the fillings that came with it.

The student population can be slashed into 2 categories; the ones that make sure to have proper meals and take time to plan their meals and  the other group that just don’t give a hoot about planning their meal. They live by the principle “all foods are equal”; if it looks like food and tastes like food, it must be food. Sandwiched between these broad groups is another group. Most students will fall into this class; they are food-runners. They really love good food, but won’t mind indulging every once in a while; a bit of junk won’t hurt.  We all love some food on-the-go; something hot, fast and tasty to grab during rush hour. Most students can relate with the difficulty of planning out their weekly meals. Even the most organised of us sometimes succumb to the pressure of the world within and around us and jump on the foosd-on-the-go bandwagon. After all, every student wishes to spend less time thinking about and making their food, preferring to spend more time eating.  Like the “foodsters”, I have a huge appetite for Panini; a crispy toasted Panini laced with sweet chili, some strips of plain chicken, and veggies (to make me feel not-so-guilty about indulging) and completely immersed in melted cheddar cheese.  What keeps me looking forward to my Panini-days is not the bread or roll, it is the stuff that goes between the bread cheeks. They are the livewire of Panini. Take them away and I won’t look at the Panini, not even for a microsecond. The filling is the centrepiece, the portion that holds the juice.  It is like the missing piece of the puzzle.

Life can be likened to my Panini.  There are the forces of life and then there is you.  Yes, the sun might be referred to as the centre of the solar system, but the universe is not complete without a touch of you. You are the missing piece of the universe. You complete the puzzle. College live can be daunting most, if not all the time. But you must constantly remind yourself that the system runs because you are in it. Think of it this way “you are the force in the automobile”; you keep it moving.  If there were no students, the lecturers would have no one to teach. The reason life is dynamic is because everyone, like the fillings in a sandwich has different taste and flavour. It is the combination of these that gives college live the vibe it boasts of.  In a class of fifty odd students, imagine the different personalities you meet, yet none is as unique as yours. There will be no sandwich if the bread and the fillings do not integrate; cling on and mix up. You are the glue that holds the forces in your life together, the centre of attraction.  The world would be less beautiful without you.

However, even the best sandwich fillings often go unnoticed most of the time. They may not even make the top 10 on the list of most persons. We have a problem here! But you will discover that the problem is not you. It is not because you are not good enough. The problem is that you are too good for a world like ours. The people who consider you not-good-enough to be in their sandwich have not tasted your flavour. So, there you go! The problem is ignorance! Maybe, it is time to put yourself in the show glass in the deli, such that people cannot resist having you in their sandwich. This is not an act of desperation, it is a matter of knowing your onion. Knowing your worth and making sure to go for nothing but only those who want you in their lives as much as you want to be in theirs. Humans will love who and what they choose to love.  We are entitled to love, but it is nobody’s obligation to love us. The duty to love yourself is yours alone. But if in time, you find someone who loves you and makes you their centrepiece, appreciate the sacrifice they make don’t let go if you can.  Even when your best may not be good enough for the majority, it is still good enough for someone.

Every day, I am learning to embrace my flaws, appreciate my strengths and accept the fact that I don’t need everyone to love me or want me in their sandwich to be the best I can. The cucumber and mayo do not need to change their tastes for me to want them in my Panini.  The amazing thing about life is this; I can be me even when I cannot be anyone or anything else. You may never really enjoy life if you do not realise that you are the filling in the sandwich. Because there are a thousand and one sandwich fillings in the deli and one could spend a lifetime tasting and trying to pick a favourite. Be the best you can, one day you will be to the world what the nectar in the flower is to the bee.  When next you grab a sandwich, try to intimate with the fillings you pick.

Now or Never!

Life has a way of going from 100 to zero really quickly. The fascinating thing about this swing is that most people do not realise it until they find themselves on the other side of the pendulum path. While a number of us are so engrossed with the idea of having the perfect career, family and living the life, we very often exclude the need to feel the moments. To feel the rush of hope and purpose and still stay in charge of the present. Of course we cannot deny the need to plan for the future, but of what use is a future if the planner doesn’t live to feature in it? As students, working class citizens, parents etc., we must at all times remind ourselves that life is like a ship sailing on a high sea. At any given time we are headed only in one direction, which means we cannot live in the present as well as the future at the same time, nor can we relish the ride of the present by choosing to remain in the past.  Life comes in phases which time calls the past, the present and the future. Isn’t it amazing how the only the link the past has with future is the present? Ever wondered why historical accounts are analysed in light of the present? We live in the present, which is what makes the difference. We do not live in the past  and are moments away from tomorrow. Tomorrow is an island, we might never get there. Even if we do, we might not live to tell the tale. Think of all the things you could have done today, but instead chose to leave for tomorrow. Take a look at your bucket list if you have one, look for the places you have long desired to go to. And if you have yet to put together a bucket list, take charge now and get it underway. The other day, I felt a sense of fulfilment and intimacy as I struck off one item on my bucket list. For almost 4 years now, I had wanted to go to “Serendipity”, a café overlooking the Lee for a treat. Countless times I have walked past the alluring café in the shimmer of the moonlight or even stood right outside to catch a glimpse of the captivating atmosphere inside. I would throw different colours of strokes on my imaginary canvas, trying to create the perfect dinner with the perfect person.  The perfect time never came! But last Friday did! In that moment I saw the opportunity to enjoy the experience I had only relished as a fantasy, I jumped at it and made the evening count. All that fantasy and pseudo-wet dreams just vanished! Reality overwhelmed my sense of imagination. In that place and moment I realised what it felt like to control time. It is not like we are handed down a compulsory to-do list in life or protocol to follow. We are not some robots that run on some computer codes. We are humans! Powerful and innovative. We are in charge! Sorry, we are supposed to be in charge at least. It is what we choose that we get. We are used to saying “life has left me no other choice” so we quickly settle what we think is the only alternative. What if we choose not to accept the “only alternative”?  There is always alternative X! The choice not to settle and stay in charge. We live the life we have and become the choices we made while the choices we never made can only remain “had-it-beens”.  As we pilot our ships, we will realise that winds and storms will rise and try to wheel us away from the path we’ve set out on.  If I ever had a wish to make, I wouldn’t wish for fancy cars, the most beautiful house or the perfect life. I would wish to go back to different times in the past. Times when I felt in charge. Not to dwell there forever, but to capture a glimpse of how I felt full of physical strength and mastery. I will smile and cheer myself for those moment that I forgot to celebrate.  I will take risks and learn a new language. Now is time to fight the fears, face the challenges and enjoy the freedom of being young and single!  A friend once said to me “there is an amazing sort of freedom that comes with turning 50, the lack of fear and measures of experience”. I thought to myself, what happened to the past 49 years? The future is only moments away. However, before you get there, you must live for now, earn for now and stay in the moment. I don’t want wake up on my 50th birthday to realise that I could looked terrific in my rags for the RAG week. No, I choose to stay in charge of this moment and you should too. If I don’t do it now, I will never get to do it. It is now or never.