This was my first time performing since publishing my book. It was a beautiful moment.
Despite the strength in my pen,
I know these words won’t cause waves unless I say them to you
But I’ll still tell myself you like to read
We love each other like the children we are
Only able to express it with the simplest of words
because the naïve one inside is still new to this
How do we articulate complexity so simply
The weight behind ‘I’m in love with you’
pulling ‘I love you’ to the bottom of the sea
I heard someone loved someone else with purpose
and it stuck with me
Maybe love words can be complicated after all
Some liken their love to reflections in mirrors
and other halves
So I wonder how you articulate yours
We wonder what crosses their minds when they try to sleep
We wonder if they think of us
There’s a lot of loving and wondering in the air
so we can wear our masks if we want
There’s a yearning for freedom in the atmosphere
so I will go when I give myself permission
And I will keep going whenever freedom grows walls
that begin to encroach on me.
I’ll give life some time to untangle
while I accept there will always be a knot somewhere
I will use disorganised poetry
as a sign of disorganised thinking
A fire signal on your screen to pray for me if you still believe in God
SOME NOTES TO SELF, AND TO YOU…
- My heart never stopped beating for me. I thank it and I thank God
- Remember to focus on what truly matters. It will calm you down when you feel overwhelmed
- There’s no need to be intimidated by façades. No one is worth being intimidated by; we’re all putting up fronts, somehow
- Love is a spell
- Trying is the least and the most you can do in any situation. To really live is to try
- The fact that I am still alive means that there is still a chance, for anything
- I am beautiful and amazing
- Hard work + self belief = greater proximity to self-assurance, satisfaction, success. It’s the only way to chase my goals and obtain them fearlessly
- All my answers are inside of me. I just need to ask ‘why’ until I locate them. I can unearth solutions from within
- God is eternally gracious
- I should not let people’s opinions hinder me. I must allow myself to do what I want
- It’s okay to be ‘unremarkable’. It’s a wasted fear, because we’re still alive
- I’m still quite introverted and that’s great because it is a piece of my younger self that I have held on to
- Paying attention to what moves you (big or small) is a guidance towards your passions
- I have survived everything I have ever gone through and I will survive all the more
- Just because something is free/paid for, doesn’t mean you need it
- I don’t have to ask so many people for advice. It confuses me and keeps me in indecision, and the final decision I make may not even feel like my own
- Work with the bones if that’s all you have. Or the tiniest thoughts – work with those. There is always something on your heart and in your mind. Work with it. Its existence is proof of its workability, so do it. Work with insignificant ideas until they evolve, transform or stop being so
- Self-honesty is a step towards personal freedom
- The conviction of winning is tentative. Celebrate it the moment you realise it. All too often we discredit ourselves and feel like we’ve achieved nothing
- Lessons aren’t confined to the tail-end of mistakes. you can learn anything, anywhere, for any reason
What do you know for sure?
DON’T TELL ME IM OVERTHINKING THIS…
In every decision, I wonder if he would approve. I try to wrap my head around accepting God for who he is rather than questioning the things I don’t like or understand about him. I should not want to change God. In fact, I should want to be just like him. But I don’t like him sometimes, and telling myself that he is outside of my understanding doesn’t pull the wool over my eyes like it used to. Trying to unlearn that inclination feels like a dangerous game, like I’m throwing knives into the air and watching them shoot down towards my face. I could lose my eyes.
I’ve been warned against questioning too much because it killed the cat, and I’ve been encouraged towards resting in the unknown. Who vetoed the assumption that that approach to life would satisfy us all? Individuality makes no space for such a set-up.
Some of us are really trying to grasp who God is and there is little love shown towards that wondering.
I default to telling myself it’s my flesh causing me to question and that I should only embrace it so much. I’m no longer aware of who I can talk to about it because I don’t want to pull anyone down with me.
In an Uber today I didn’t put on my seatbelt. I briefly thought to myself that if I died in a crash for that reason in that moment, I would be okay with it. I feel trapped in God and I don’t know how to get out. The paradox lies in the fact that there’s still nothing better than him. But perhaps that’s a default conclusion for me too. I am lost.
An answer that has been proposed to me includes speaking to God about it and spending more time in the Word. But I don’t want to read it, it feels like my head is being pushed into the ground to ignore the chaos all around. It feels like avoidance. Though I am still scared of my head being chopped off if I stretch my neck out into the chaos for too long.
Another resolution is to do what I want and see where it gets me. Oh how dangerous that would be – I have a bright future.
I feel pain when I think of people who are like me, getting closer to God, while I am just slipping away. My hands are losing the ability to hold on to anything, they are apprehensive, they have lost all trust. The last prayer in my lungs is for it to make sense to me for the first time. Authentically. ￼
He’s the only cloud in the sky
dwelling in absent companionship
while the sun shines from behind
as if there’s a reason to go on
Perhaps there is
since above is still blue
and the birds are still singing
It may be a time for alone-ness,
which isn’t the same as loneli-ness
Could be a time for solitude,
intentionally fixated on himself
Knowing that one day
some clouds will return
and perhaps he’ll float away from them
so they can find themselves too
I’VE BEEN WONDERING WHAT I CAN HOLD ON TO…
Everything in life is coming and going so quickly, as if nothing has meaning. Meanwhile, I know that everything does. Mostly. Fleeting, is stability, love and hope. Happiness, clarity, and contentment. So the secret to life is balance. You can apply it to any situation when you feel like you’re doing too much or too little of something. That’s what I tell myself.
Lately I have experienced lessons in self-compassion. If you think you lack it, you should read Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff. I am reading it very slowly but it is changing my mindset for the better.
Pushing myself had turned into punishing myself and I didn’t like that. So over the past months I have learnt to be kinder to myself, speak kinder words to myself, and practise patience with myself. I learnt that I don’t have to be harsh to be successful. Success can derive from love as well. It’s an approach I prefer.
Every night, I put down my phone and lie on my stomach. One leg is bent at 90 degrees and I have one or both arms on my silk pillowcase. I think to myself, I hope my mind doesn’t go where it’s been going every night for the past few months. But just like that, thoughts plague me. People, habits, worries, regrets. Wonderings – if I could just go back and change something… where would we be now if it never ended… look how much changed in a year… I wonder what next year will be like… will things slow down soon… will I be in the same place for 7 years, accompanied by memories that fail to radically change with time? My childhood wasn’t like that.
Seasons are changing again; I can feel it. That’s why peace is hard to find every night. There’s so much I realise I haven’t let go of when I lay my head. Heartbreak is the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced. And none of it even lasted that long. But I have carried hurt for months upon months now. This feels different because it was placed on me. This pain isn’t a result of my inner-turmoil, but rather a result of opening myself up to the possibility of love. I was unlucky.
The craziest thing about this season changing, is the fact that I hardly dwelled in it. I’ve spent the whole time feeling unadjusted, getting to grips with a new environment, and now it’s changing again. That’s why I’ve been wondering what I can hold on to.
I fall asleep eventually.
And then I wake up.
My birthday is soon. I’m not particularly excited about it. But I’m excited about the month of July because it is the month of my birth. I tell myself that only good things happen in July. It makes sense to me.
I think I still have joy, deep down. I may presently be at the depth of a rollercoaster but I am never without hope. Joy continues to trump happiness. I guess that’s what I’m holding on to.
The bag of compost was £7.99. I knew I could carry it home, as long as I left my gym bag at work, a place where I’d found myself drifting again. I was reminded of the pain that comes when you drift away from what you wanted while you’re in it. Projections of naivety take you over and you wonder if you’ll ever know what’s best for you. All I ever wanted was to be free. And the practice of self-compassion tells me to show love to myself even when I feel like I made a big mistake. But it was hard to think about that when I pulled the bag of compost off the counter. It was heavier than I expected. I thought about my left shoulder, the only shoulder that I put my bags on. Even backpacks are unlucky enough to be slung over it. On my right side I may carry another bag in my hand. But sometimes I won’t even do that.
While the sense of my decisions continued to play in my mind, I envisioned my journey home. It was a warm June day so I was open to walking; it never really phased me. But I knew it would be a struggle by the time I reached the station. Yet as I stepped out of the dark shop into the best open air that London could provide, I found myself walking. An image of myself sitting on the train with a heavy work bag carrying a laptop and a notebook I scarcely used with a bag of compost from a shop in Old Street beside me plagued my mind. What will I be thinking about? I asked myself. Probably this. Probably an ache in my shoulder and the smell of a long day that was bound to surround me. A plan to shower when I got home that I may not commit to. An assessment of the fridge and consideration of a home-cooked meal. I won’t have the energy. The thought was interrupted by people in lightweight clothing, sunglasses and sandals breezing past me as I trudged against them. I had sunglasses in my bag but I didn’t feel like I should wear them. You have to be in the mood to wear sunglasses, they’re a feeling. My AirPods told me that it ‘gets better with time’ and I wondered what ‘it’ is. I wasted a whole day.
Back home in my mind, I will close the fridge door and lie down on my bed, fighting thoughts that I wasted another day, and because of that, I am a waste of space. Here, I passed over a zebra crossing. And I adjusted the bag of compost in my right hand. I had to loop the handle because it was too long, still hoping no one would move my gym bag at work. Just like I did in my November existentialism, I wondered just how many of the people walking past me went through something like this. Probably most of them. There, I will stay in the position I fell into on my bed, and scroll for a bit, in search of an immediate laugh to remind myself that things aren’t bad. Here, I finally made it to the train. And I settled in a spot I knew I would find. It sat for a while. I’m always a bit early. I breathed out, ideas of what home would be like in an hour dissipating as I grounded myself with where I was.
I knew it. The bag of compost sat beside me, an attempt to take some joy home with me. Though all it really was, was a bag of compost. Tomorrow I’ll buy an actual plant. I wanted one today but I didn’t know how I would carry it. The train left the station as I leant my head against the window. Another unremarkable day. At least this story was something to remember. I hope.
In a place where I don’t know much. So all I can do is listen and learn. Be sensitive to information. Swallow my pride when I make mistakes. I tell myself that mistakes are evidence of my space to grow. So here I am, growing. It’s been a while since I learnt this much, so practically. School again.
How close am I to the jazz lounge
I’ve only ever seen it in my dreams
In the same way that I see him
When I close my eyes at night
When writing poems in the pages of novels
Peering out of windows from behind 3 monitors
All it takes is some jazz and rain
And I begin to wonder
If this is it
Surely there’s somewhere else I belong
Where I can slide into my dreams with ease
I wonder how long I can keep up this gag
Until the desire to express overtakes me
And I’ve no choice but to succumb.
At that point I’d be a slave to emotion
Incapable of turning my mind off
Losing myself in thought
Convincing others that it’s not a good thing
But proximity won’t let up
Because time only moves forward
And I know one day I’ll arrive,
The jazz lounge of my dreams