Don’t make the monkeys dance; take them back home

“Not my monkey, not my circus”

I think that every spiritual journey comes with a moment where someone fell off the face of the earth. The lawyer who owned a Ferrari sold it off and went to become a monk. Elizabeth Gilbert went off to Bali. Jesus didn’t have these luxuries so he went to the wilderness. I also feel nuns disappear of ages before resurfacing- you’d think they all enter into service in their mid to late 30s.

I have a friend who drops off the grid months at a time. She’s taken Lent seriously, and on the Ash Wednesday I wished her a Happy Easter. She might want to prologue her leave from the world.

And then there are people like me and you. We have things we are tied to and we don’t have the time to go off for large chucks of time to be by ourselves. So we find ourselves praying for plans to get cancelled and snob calls because we need silence. It worked for Oprah. Woman was on air every day for what, 25 years?

~~~~~

The reason I don’t like other Christians aka my fellow brethren and sister-ren is because we are a huge pile of mess. You’d think the sinner’s prayer was a cotton swap that wipes your foolishness, crazy making, fornicating, cheating, murdering, adultery-ing, lying, and corrupt, hating and gossiping self. Like you’d think that, no? The reason I don’t like them is because I am trained not to like them, because I have been trained not to like myself.

Be like Jesus, they say. If I was to remove the fact that we are called into a son ship with God and Jesus is my brother, I am nothing like Jesus. NOTHING. The older I get and more frustrated I become with my reality, the more I want to crawl into the hole these enlightened people crawled into. And it’s not even because the world is crazy. Unless you are self-harming and have problematic thought patterns, sinning without involving other parties is HARD! Like what will you do? Rob yourself?

That brings me to this realization. When you are transforming and going hard on the inner or spiritual journey, you are SENSITIVE on levels that you can’t even believe. I have become like my grandmother.

When I was young we’d go to the village over holidays for a few days to weeks. Now my Nairobi body needed lotion-ing, not Aremis, after a bath if we were going somewhere. I can’t remember what I was getting from the outside kitchen that was so smoke-filled that I could barely see my grandma. But before I was two steps in, I heard her say in my mother tongue, “HM! Get out! I cannot stand that perfume!”

It took shooing by an aunt to realize she was referring to the lotion I had on.

That’s me right now, but with bull-dung.

~~~~~

Spiritual journey do not come from a place of feeling high and mighty and better than the rest. It is distorted to mean such when the reality is people take these journeys to deal with things within themselves and to elevate to a higher experience of living. It is becoming so acquitted with the bull-dung within yourself that you spot it in a heartbeat within others.

There is a tricky balance I am yet to get to. I often tell people “not everyone thinks like you” and “if I was born in their shoes I would probably be the same” to quell their rant, especially if I feel they are being utterly self-righteous. And dah, I don’t always take my advice.

I want to see people as they are, bull-dung and all, and still feeling compassion toward them.

Right now I am not there. Don’t even pray to ask God, I am telling you. And I think it is time we started having honest conversations about what happens on the journey to being more like Jesus. If someone had told me about this mess I wouldn’t be ignoring calls and messages. I would have just taken myself to the wilderness and come back when I had some sense of balance.

Sheesh!

I should write a book one day about things I wish I knew before I made the conscious decision to be a Christian. Sigh.

Point is, if your spiritual journey, Christian or not, is looking some type of way, that’s normal. Levitating cross-legged is for the movies.

Cheers.

Yep. Christians are not exempted from bad life experiences

Before I say how story books, Disney movies and everything I watched where evil triumphs all was partly a sham, I’d like us to be clear. Life can be painfully hard.

~~~~~

I think there is a watered down Christian narrative we follow. I am not talking about prosperity gospel; there are renowned preachers I watch and ask God if he’ll allow them entrance into heaven. And then I remind myself not to be judgmental toad. I am talking about the sunshine and happy rays perspective presented.

“Follow God and all will be well!”

You’d think that the first people to get the Holy Spirit on earth would get a pass and not be boiled in hot oil, hang upside down or beheaded. But please, tell me more about how fabulous the Christian life is!

I won’t lie. It is fabulous. You’d think I was mocking the process the entire time. No, life can be quite rubbish, but the reason why most people are not articulate about it is because the truth will make you run. If people had told me the path to self-awareness and closeness to the Holy Spirit was this hard, I would have done one of two things. I would have said no thanks. Otherwise I would have done something I wish I could have done; braced myself.

~~~~~

I have a tattoo; feel free to throw scripture that makes you believe I am going to hell. Please, especially because should your husband die and you have no children, you DON’T have to get yourself a kinsman redeemer. That refers to you having to marry and give birth by your husband’s male relative. I’m sorry; who did you think Boaz was? LOL!

Where was I? My bad; I have a tattoo. There were two things I was upset about. The first was the symbolism. The second was how I had not anticipated the extent of pain. I hoped that my younger brother had said how painful it would be. Like on a scale of one to ten. I thought it was a 6 at most. For me it was an eight but there is something about the lack of knowing what’s coming that throws me off and has me calling my ancestors. Never mind I have sensitive skin. I currently have a bruise on my hip I’m like “what pillow hit you?”

~~~~~

If you are reading this and you are ish ish about your relationship with God but you are considering this, I urge you to go the other way. “But Wambaire! You should bring-“ You know that life with Christ is worth more than anything on the planet. However, if you think that getting to a healthy place in both your soul and spirit (no, those are not synonymous; they are dealt with separately) will be easy, this is not for you.

You will hit rock bottom with the top of your head. You will have a bad marriage, a child with terminal illness. You will end up in hospital on life support, you will have people betray you. You will have no friends and you will be lonely.

But God- He’s so worth it. If you don’t believe me though, you keep doing you. You and I will have the same experiences (who thought a suicidal Christian was a thing?) but I’m here fighting mosquitoes and at peace that I am in the best head space I have been all my life.

My point is; beware.

Cheers.

Don’t scratch the scab

I can’t pinpoint when the change happened, but as with everything, it was probably a bit at a time. The river that is my life eventually wore down a bolder in the way and proceeded to flow freely. It could be the wakeup call after being at the underside of rock bottom and swearing not to go back there. It could be that I am healing. It could be many things, but even that I won’t fuss about.

~~~~~

When I don’t get my way, I merely move on. Before it was an entire struggle; an inner dialogue of why they did not respond to my text. It was wondering what about my company would have people overlook me entirely. It was a pity-party of how I was a loner and no one cared. Now, it’s a shrug and we look for something else to do. It’s like noticing you’re out of coffee and opt for tea. Not the same effect but satisfies the itch.

That is one of the many examples of healing I’ve seen.

And it is weird.

~~~~~

Sabotage; our dear old friend

I noticed as humans we have the capacity to seek out drama. Before you blame everyone around you, check your boundaries. You just could be the one allowing drama. In a sense, I was a low key crazy-maker. I would poke at something to see how it reacts. It was more out of boredom than malice. Or honestly put, it was the idea that most people work off from; it’s better if someone yelled at you than them giving you the silent treatment. Effects of neglect in childhood; and yes, we are all broken and busted. It’s part of the human experience.

Even as I come into my own and love myself and company more, I’m finding that I’m kinda bored. I find the stillness and the peace weird. It is like having on a super gorgeous outfit that fits perfectly and still feel uncomfortable. Stop touching it, it’s fine!

If this doesn’t make sense, that’s quite alright- shelf it for when it does. If it does it’s likely you are healing and lack of turmoil, pain, anger and frustration and the kind is strange. Before you slide into his or her DM looking for closure or whatever other foolish reason you conjure up, go see about the tension in Cameroon between the French and English speakers. There are a thousand different things to do other than go looking for disappointment.

They haven’t changed. By the way. In case you were wondering.

So what’s the lesson?

There is stillness and peace in healing. It also feels like a lot of nothing happening. However, rest. You’ll need it when it’s time to face the world anew. It’s boring but necessary, so don’t ruin it.

Note to self.

For when you’re so stuck, that your stuck is stuck.

I found humor in my journey, along with the awareness that I am crazy and a lot to handle. I think I had been too modest about my ability to go off on people like a firecracker when I found them to be displaying “bad manners” LOL!

Therapy has been a big help, certainly something I will advocate for the rest of my life. Why? Because those who meet me in the future have a lot less to handle. Ha! However, until my session last week I had not understood the source of my stuckness.

Now that I have, boy am I letting it rip!

~~~~~

I was the type of person to continue texting and calling a guy who treated me anyhow because I liked them. I was the type to hold on to friends that had no business being my friend because I always got the short end of the stick. I was the type not to set boundaries with my folks and as a result, I, the grass, suffered. I was the type to not know how to handle my emotions, so I found solace at the bottom of a bottle of something hard. Saying “no” was impossible as well.

I am perhaps still all these things to a degree. I believe in supernatural turnarounds, but it just might take me practice to become completely unstuck because it’s been years of this crap.

~~~~~

When you don’t know better, you cannot be and do better.

That is my understanding of unsticking my stuckness. For years I have been pursuing justice I will never get for the wrongs done to me from when I was a child. For years I let the anger eat me up, leaving me stuck in patterns that had me questioning my sanity. In hindsight, I remained in trash relationships because I wanted THEM to see what THEY were doing wrong so they can apologize, change and treat me better.

Yea… no.

Courtesy: Seek Logo

There is a release in understanding our history. The theory of psychoanalysis in therapy speaks on unearthing forgotten things of the past to explain our present selves. But only a small number of us ever will.

(Here is what they don’t tell you about the process: It is as painful as you can imagine. Only worse. The emotional pain gets so bad you can feel it in your elbow LOL! But think of it as exercise; there’s a price to pay to get healthy.)

If you noticed you have been doing, thinking or saying some dumb things for years and can’t seem to get unstuck, venture to the past. Forget the facts, and sit in the emotions of the little child that you were. Cry, wail, say how angry you are.

So no, you weren’t born this way; the world just landed your soul a blow at birth; that’s why it is deformed and bleeding.

Yes, life sucks, but keep swimming.

Letting go of what I never had

Sit with me in silent laughter.

By now I know the symptoms of a bad day. I will wake up in a sour mood. I will not want to leave the bed. I will negotiate with myself to work because I don’t want to be a beggar. I will refuse to journal because I know it will end in an even more foul mood or waterworks, both of which I don’t want to experience.

If you don’t have such days, I’m jealous.

As for me and myself, such a day never ends well. I started with one of those yesterday. For the most part, they end with hours of YouTube and sleep, but in others, if a trigger is introduced, chhhhiiiillleeeee…. (pronounced “child” but without the d. Blame Sarah Jakes Roberts.)

My riggers could be anything, but they all have an underlying theme- men getting away with shit. Anything from a chauvinistic comment that goes unmentioned to gospel artists messing up a woman’s life- that shit gets to me. I could choose not to curse, but that shit is heavy in my heart and I can’t express it any other way.

Because these all sound like things I should bring up in my therapy sessions, I’ll do just that.

But one thing these triggers do is send me down a rabbit hole, which is the basis of today’s post.

~~~~~~

Being molested as a child messes up a human to degrees that even they don’t understand in their later years. If you have been, male or female, you know what I mean. Pair that with a less than ideal environment to grow up in and behold, a mess of a human being trying to get through life happens.

And I have been trying to work my issues out. So when the following thought hit me, I had to just… let’s just say I felt a lot of things.

How do you let go of things you never had in the first place?

I’ll give an example. It’s like not getting a job and saying, you know what, screw that job, I don’t want it anyway, it was rubbish, the people are probably xyz, etc. etc. you know, sour grapes. So imagine that with your life, trying to let go of friends you never had, of relationships with people who never loved you in the first place, of a childhood that you never got to experience.

How does that work, exactly?

And I say this with utmost humor despite the space I’m in- it’s like trying to change up your life to be this thing, and then you realized you never had a life in the first place, so what exactly are you changing? LOL!

You can understand the level of delusion, yes?

~~~~~

While that realization is painful, it’s one I’m happy I’ve had. Unclenching empty hands is easier, and realizing, moving forward, I have nothing to lose with the choices I make with how my life moves forward. I never had anything to lose in the first place.

I also realize what to pick and carry with me. Love. From people who were with me even when I had nothing, even when I didn’t realize I was empty. You are the real OGs.

Keep swimming.

Learning to walk depression “alone”

Before you raise your eyebrows, hear me out.

I cannot take full credit for the recovery I’ve had thus far. I have God, friends, a therapist, my parents etc. who have helped me along. However, there are journeys you have to walk alone.

~~~~~

The first few years of life significantly shape your life. Sigmund Freud on his theory of psychoanalysis talks extensively about this, but there are some places he appeared to have missed the point entirely. He was convinced that everyone, like him, fights with feelings of attraction for their parents. In his case, he was sexually attracted to his mother. He had plenty of demons, including battling illnesses, brought about mental health.

It is the likes of Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, Freud’s students, and Eric Ericson who took the theory a step further. Eric broke it down to the stages of life; it is more of the experiences we refer to now, including the phases of finding one’s identity and self-actualization. There are other theories that I am yet to read that counseling psychologists use, but I found this one in particular helpful.

~~~~~

My mom worked for the first six+ months of my life. That meant house helps, and if the horrors we’ve heard are to go by, my dad once rushed me to the hospital suffering from dehydration. I was a fantastic sleeper, and somewhere along the way, I learned to suck my finger to soothe myself. In those early months and years, I learned to be my support system. Imagine waking up, crying for attention for hours, and yet no one comes. I seem to have resulted to silence. Cry, if no one comes, suck my finger and move on.

This is the story of many people who didn’t have the best of caretakers when their parents were out hustling. I think it was soon after the incident with me that my mother opted to quit her job and stay at home for a while. My elder brother had my mother’s sisters present, so he was alright. My younger brother had a stay-home mother; she quit her job a few months before he was born.

~~~~~

I learned to figure my things out, and while that worked as a child to save me tears, it is not the best approach now. There are pros and cons to it though. In the past year, I have learned to ask for help. Before I would act out and hope someone would take notice and do something. Now I know to speak and ask for what I need. Asking my dad to find me a therapist for me was a milestone.


However-


No one around me extensively understands depression and suicide; just one person and because they have their fight to fight, I cannot burden them. Others have a general idea, but nothing about a deep hole, a cloud and the loss of hope. If you are in a similar situation, I am sure you are very aware of how lonely that makes you feel. I’ve had to rely on those self-soothing methods I learned as a kid, only they haven’t always been healthy- sucking my finger earned me braces 10 years in.

If you are in this dark space, you might not want to hear this, but you are your best friend and hope of getting through. You have to give yourself what you need actively. How easy is that? It is not; it is still something I struggle with. Taking myself for a pedicure two days ago was an internal struggle. Am I wasting money? Should your broke self not be saving? Finally, I realized that I was in a low space; staying in my room would have made me feel worse. However, pretty feet would cheer me up. What is better?

You too have to give yourself what you need. Buy that candle, go by street food, stay in bed all day watching comedy. Do small actions that lift your mood. Your family, friends, partner and pretty much everyone will not be there for you round the clock. Learn to be there for yourself when they are not present.

You are a better ally to yourself than the voices are telling you.

We are wired for love; send some your way beloved.

Positive affirmations to combat depression: Your Character Vs. Your Identity

Working definitions

Character: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

Identity: the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

Thanks Google.

~~~~~

Living in your head, I think, is one of the primary causes of depression. The opposite is not avoiding deep reflection. The opposite is a balance between understanding oneself and still being present. If you’re like me, you will spend HOURS in your mind. And Google.

Here is what my mind has churned out over the years; these are accurate and not merely some way to beat up my self-esteem.

  • I have anger issues
  • I am still looking at my mustard seed-sized self-esteem like- “bloom baby, bloom!”
  • Erm… What are boundaries?
  • Cut me, I gut you

You get my point.

I was in a state of one of these episodes but I caught myself this time.

Sure, these are all things currently coming off, but who does God say I am?

~~~~~

If you have grown up in a Christian setting, that question is rather out of flavor. However, may I offer a different perspective?

There is who God says we are- the head and not the tail, co-heirs with Christ, His beloved… these are all things we’ve heard, and know.

Now, if Jesus came and sat on your bed, and being a Friend, what would he tell you? If you said you are ____ (insert a shortcoming), what would he say?

What I think we’ve done is used scripture to band-aid our pains. I could sit here and say that I am the righteousness of God in Christ, but if I still feel dirty for what I said, did or thought, what use is that? His truth remains, but my posture is what makes it hard for me to accept it.

~~~~~

Suggested way forward?

Let me use the thought that sparked this post. I was reading an article on co-dependency. The article talked about how it’s generational and something we learn from observations. As I was sitting in the truth of my actions (and marinading in it being a solid cause-but one of the many-reasons behind my many failed relationships), a different thought *hello there Holy Spirit!* came to mind.

“Sure, this is your present character, but who does God say you are?”

After the initial biblical affirmations, I realize that my identity is not co-dependent. My identity is in Christ; I am Christ-like. Everything else is an add-on that is unnecessary and can be shake off. I don’t know about you, but that makes working my issues through so much easier.

I am not changing my identity from being codependent to being Codependent No More, because, identity wise, that’s not who I am.

They are thoughts turned words, turned actions, turned habit, turned character and are now shaping my destiny. But they are not who I am. The work to remaining true to my identity is the same- I need tools to learn how to NOT be codependent. The difference is it’s no longer this thing attached to my essence; it’s a passing cloud. Gloomy, and makes me feel sad, but nonetheless, a passing cloud.

To new way of looking at things in 2019,

Cheers.