Coloured people

I remember reading an article on teaching children how to share and play nicely with each other. The writer made an important observation, as adults we rarely feel enthused to share our partners, our cars, our homes, our time. Why do we feel the immense need to teach children to share everything they have? Are we indirectly teaching them to always give in to people because they asked nicely? Because they have held the item way too long? Are indirectly teaching them to say yes to every request, feeling the need to only say No when supported by someone or justified by external factors?

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The above line of thought perhaps sounds selfish, however, if you think in terms of long- term, it perhaps might help curb the sense of entitlement growing with every generation.

I want it simply because they have it. If they have, I should also have it.

I need it because it seems to make everyone who has it cool or happy.

Take from the rich and give the poor. etc.

Dignity in labour dwindles, jobs disappear, as popularity contests and get rich schemes flood the world like a tornado. Delayed gratification is now the ghost of eras sailed by and contentment is a rainbow that appears where death almost over-powers life. With every individual fighting to do life their way, it is not uncommon to find someone feeling disenfranchised at each turn.

Today, Idris Alba put up a tweet that has everyone speculating on the possibility of a black James Bond showing up on our screens.  For some this is a good reason to celebrate, to do cartwheels, while popping champagne. It would be considered a rectifying of the odds, a balancing of the scales, considered a victory in the same vein as the appearance of a female Dr Who.  However, I can’t help feeling sad for the child (a)who has to share every toy to keep the other child(b) happy. I can’t help wondering if child (b) hasn’t short-changed themselves by believing that happiness or fulfilment could only be found in having the exact toy child (a) has. 


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While I acknowledge and totally commend the strides taken to include a black bond, a female Dr who and a bat-woman, I can’t help wondering if we are winning the battle but losing the war. For the migrant on the street the war is far from over. For the jobseeker at the interview, for whom the scales tip once a minority trait is discovered, these victories matter not. We scream inclusion, but what we really have are ropes tying us up, with our bias and fears at the brink of explosion. We are all coloured, by our preferences, our thoughts, and cultures. Until we accept it and find self-acceptance we will continuously rub each other wrong. 

We all need to accept that being human is all (those that look like us and those who don’t) we really have in common. We need to embrace what we have and hold it up proudly without oppressing another. Child (a) needs to learn that sharing isn’t always about handing the toy over to the other child, it might mean going home with child (b) to explore and improve their own toys without self-serving interests. Child (b) must learn to find contentment in themselves, to walk their path boldly with dignity and respect. 

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We need to co-exist, not clone-exist

Our eyes tell a different story, so do the pages of our life,

Of what relevance is history, if today is a retelling of  yesterday,

bid me sleep, to dream another shade of tomorrow

another fragrance of the night breeze.

 

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Nella

At eighteen Nella learnt to trust everyone.

When Noel said “no one will love you like I do” she didn’t doubted him.

And how about Miss Willow, she helped Nella to embrace her status as a waste of academic resource; I mean how many more F’s could one student get.

She aspired to eat like cousin Emily, talk smart like Simon (their neighbour) and dress like the girl at the grocery store.

Life at number 584 was a strict regime of self value obliteration. With eighty-two items on her list of shortcomings, Nella clung to Noel’s words like a blind leech.


Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by the lovely Kent Bonham, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

As thy self …

I got to the bus stop minutes ahead of the bus, did my regular inventory:

Ticket ……..  X

Purse ………  X

Shopping bag …… X

Phone ….. X

Everything was in place, ready to board the bus. There’s only two of us waiting for the bus, which reduces any likelihood of having to stand for the journey. The bus pulls up right on time and my fellow passenger courteously indicates that I should board first. I confidently place my prepaid ticket on the scanner and it’s not long before reality sinks in; my ticket has expired. I reach into my purse only to discover I didn’t have enough change to pay the fare. Oh well, turns out I hadn’t done the most important inventory after all, have I? Turning to disembark from the bus, I hear the other passenger calling me back and without much ado my fare is paid.  I felt the tears start to pool in my eyes.

I could say the passenger paid my fares for several different reasons

  1. He had excess money
  2. He took pit on my bump
  3. He wanted to show he wasn’t racist (I know right, how much more political can the mind get?)
  4. Or simply it was a kind act sent my way, a reminder that the universe still had atoms of agape love floating through the stratosphere.

One could also wonder why I would get on the bus without a valid ticket or cash in my purse:

  1. Baby brain (yeap a reliable get out of jail free card)
  2. I was hoping for a miracle.( I hope for one every morning anyways)
  3. Or I thought my week long ticket would run from Tuesday to Tuesday rather than Tuesday to Monday (having only bought this for the first time). And I don’t carry extra cash because I  keep looking for random things to buy. 

Thankfully I didn’t repeat the same mistake again on my way home, however I made a different one. As a student I am entitled to a discount on my fares, but I need my identity card to get this discount. I guess you know by now how that went today, I didn’t have my ID card at hand so no discount for me. Having paid my fare, I sat down for a short reflective ride home.

I wondered how trivial life issues can be and how we sometimes derive false value and identity from the things we have and the circumstances that surround us. I could view everything that happened to me today as a serious turn of misfortune and sad occurrences in my life. I could overlook the kind act in the morning by thinking of how it should not be happening to someone like me at this stage of my life. I should have a car, I should, I should ….. 

In life our self image is revolved around three things

I am ….. who we are and whose we are. Our strengths, our weaknesses.

I have ….. what resources we have:  family, friends, money, property etc never devalue anything.

I can …. how we pull things together to help us.

But we must never anchor who we are on what we have or what we can pull together. Our core should be based on the ‘I AM’. Every other thing is subject to change and depreciation. A friend who carries you at 20 (both mentally and physically) might not be available to carry you at 60/80 for several different reasons (death, old age, falling apart, distance etc). Isn’t it amazing how the ‘I AM’ controls how you relate with the I have and I can components. You can’t receive or give what you’re not.

Love thy neighbour as thy self.

You will value your neighbour as you value your self.

I will be back …..

20170711_110003.jpgMy new car spied on my way home.

 

 

 

(RIP) Here lies …. a bundle of reactions.

As the last child it’s often impossible to escape the shadows cast by your siblings. Your name becomes obscure as many refer to you as XYZ’s little sister. The chances of people remembering your name are not very high, this is not necessarily because they don’t know it or forget it, rather they have fallen into the habit of seeing your elder ones before they see you, thus their names (your elder ones) come to mind first. I found the spoken and sometimes unspoken expectation to have me mirror the ideals, behaviours and traits of my siblings the most frustrating aspect of this shadowing effect.

I really wanted to escape the canopy effect my siblings had on my life and the opportunity to do so came in the form of university choices. I chose a school many miles from home and although my elder brother had attended the same school he had graduated long enough to dispel all shadowing effects on my life. Physically distancing myself from this phenomenon refereed to as shadowing, to a certain extent did me a world of good. It helped me find myself, to test the strength and bases of my belief, but it also highlighted how intrinsic the values and personality traits I had tried to escape were a part of me.

Perhaps one of the many lessons of growing older is the gradual realization that we are a large picture comprising of different puzzle pieces. Puzzle pieces shaped by our varied life experiences, human and cosmic encounters. The best part of the puzzle lies in the fact that different pieces can be moved around to fit the edges of our life or form the core of who we are. Secondly we can afford through due diligence to eliminate and replace certain pieces as we please, however unlike a cardboard puzzle there will always be an imprint of that  piece in our memory. 

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Memory, emotions, the mind … I suppose that’s what makes us different from the people who have shaped our lives. This ideology is supported by Karl Rogers and Erickson’s ideologies on human growth and development. Yes we are a sum of everything that happens to and around us, this might be considered by some as our true self’s. However, perhaps our true self’s doesn’t stop at this level but goes further to how we interpret those events and what we do with that interpretation.

If the saying that “we have only 10 percent control over  what happens to us and 90 percent control over how we react” is true, would  it be  safe to assume that people who live in self denial haven’t embraced their true selves? How about those who live life trying to anticipate the moves of others, basing every action or thought on the anticipated moves of another? Are they cautious, manipulative or untrue to self? 

When we anticipate people’s moves and act accordingly aren’t we short changing ourselves from learning who they really are? More importantly aren’t we short changing ourselves, as only life experiences can truly expose the foundations our true ourselves. I am by no means advocating a careless lifestyle or a rude personality. I just find myself wondering if such a cautious life isn’t a limiting and unrealistic one. I question the validity and dependability of principles lived by being a bundle of reaction to for everyone around you.

Isn’t that what we become when everything we do is foreshadowed by our anticipated or pre- planned outcomes. We consistently respond not in the way we really want to but in the way that ensures we have absolute control of the 10 percent which really belongs to others. Sadly I think in doing that we give over control of the 90 percent without knowing.  We hedge ourselves into a corner which never spreads out into a large square, rather like a column we wrap ourselves round in people’s reaction until we become invisible. Often times when that environment becomes stifling we burst open like a house hit by a tornado.

Don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to be everything to all men, as each man desires sometime different from everyone each time. I rather be something to some people and accept that I might never be anything to some others. Would it be better to die a bundle of reactions or a bundle of actions?

Sketching the mind

“Tracey, would you like to tell me what you see?”

Tracey giggled, shifting on her sit .

“Tracey?”

“There’s a lady standing in the corner wearing red …”

Gently massaging her palms with her fingers “Tracey, I wasn’t referring to ..”

Tracey carried on “… perfect streamlined shape, long arms, and legs that reach up to her ears. A vision in red.”

Smiling patiently “We both know I wasn’t asking you about the mannequin, I want to know what you see when you look in the mirror?”

“I told you there’s nothing wrong with me.”

“And I agree Tracey, but I would still like to know what you see when you look in the mirror?”

“I see a massive lump of flesh, stumpy arms, legs that barely leave the ground and trust me I don’t look good in red, any shape or shade.”

Silence.

“What? Aren’t you going to tell me that I’m wrong? That I am beautiful and the world is a crazy place not me?.”

“No, I’m not. How about we paint some still life today? Your sketches are getting so much better each week. Gretchen says you have a creative mind.”


In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from the lovely Iain Kelly (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories. 

Not by strength

The word strength has a number of interesting meanings, both on the street and on the pages of a dictionary. Cambridge dictionary gives several definitions:

1. The ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort.
2. The degree to which something is strong or powerful.
3. A good characteristic.
4. At the best level of ability possible.

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Source: Pixabay free images.

No one wants to be weak; everyone craves to be the strongest in the group. In the past brute strength was all that counted, in present day society brute strength is less appreciated, wits and intelligence quotients, on the other hand, have more significance. It is not hard to understand why; in the past, a vacuum of knowledge existed between man and his immediate environment, the earth seemed like a wide open field in need of a conqueror. Fast forward to today and man has more rhetorical questions, the environment endures him and nature seem in a bid to wrap him up, thus a need to outsmart the system is needed. Regardless of these differences man’s strength hasn’t changed, if anything his need to reconnect with it has become more expedient.

Man is said to compose of a body, spirit and soul, the heart being a literal part of the body, while the mind and the figurative representation of the heart are considered part of the soul. For this article, they would be considered as separate entities. These various components have unique strengths which are manifested in different ways:

The strength of the heart is love: love is defined as a great interest and pleasure in something. The above definition is very apt as it in no way rules out the possibility of love not being returned by the object of our interest or pleasure. It also doesn’t imply that love has no room for reason, balance or correction. It does, however, imply that love is a positive feeling, a desire to be involved or understand the object of one’s affection. The heart grows stronger and broader as it learns to love genuinely.

The strength of the mind is the ability to keep things in perspective: this is a very important strength as the mind has been known to play a lot of tricks on us. Although what we see or perceive from our environment is affects are final interpretation of events, however, situations have been known to turn from bad to better and vice versa depending on the swaying of the mind in the moment. I find this strength the most difficult to cultivate as it requires a lot of patience to harness, but it one mark of a strong character.

Tenderness is the strength of the body: there is something very endearing about a baby held gently in the arms of a muscled adult. Our strength is at its maximum ability when it can be restrained when it is pushed to bend another, but rather bends itself. A lion roaring at full capacity at a mouse isn’t amazing, a lion roaring full capacity at an elephant now that’s different. In essence, it is not enough to have strength but it is a mark of great strength to know which way to lean with your strength.

The strength of the spirit is discernment: this is limited very closely to the strength of the mind. It is very influential to the outcome of the mind; they have to work in sync to produce the best result. A balanced and calm spirit is very important as it is a gateway to more than what we see through sight.

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Source: Pixabay free images

A compassionate soul is an endearing one: the ability to feel empathy, to share someone’s pain, joy, anger is a deep trait. A strong soul isn’t one hardened to the reality of everyday life, but one that is able to detect the ever wavering invisible signals weaved between people like a spiders web, easy to break, easy to strengthen.

And the strength of humanity is the ability to endure, to overcome, to outlast its opposition. This last strength pulls all the others together to produce remarkable men and women throughout history. Examples abound of lowly men and women who saved families, aristocrats, men of great societal standing from the world that sort to destroy them. A clear example that strength from without is of no value in the face of true opposition. Women and men who rallied troops into battle, but never feared to kneel literally and figuratively before another as some battles are won by a restraining of strength. Thus it is safe to say that whatever eras we find ourselves in these strengths are the only things that will sustain humanity.

Faulty options

It was the first time, and it won’t be the last time someone advised a career change.

“Have you tried basketball, modelling, marketing? I honestly can’t see your future as a construction site worker.”

It was the first time, and it won’t be the last time she smiled, happy to follow a path set by her core, and not her shell.

photo by Rosan Harmens – click here for full res version
Copyright Rosan Harmens

Written for Sonya’s TLT (week twenty-two) and the discover weekly challenge.

 

Temet nosce

“I am not exactly looking for a commitment at the moment.”

“Congratulations, Jules said you got the job. When do you start?”

The skyline danced to the mesmerizing tune of rippling waves. 

Its solid structures less intimidating with each motion, more accommodating, more endearing, best to remember it was a reflection.

“I heard Sam just finished his masters, that boy is ambitious.”

“You still live in that apartment?”

The bridge neither cared for the commuters speed nor the rumbling of the sea.

It stood firm, solid in the knowledge of its role. .

“You split from your girlfriend again?”

“Don’t you think it’s time you settled down.?”

The barricade kept him safe.

Letting him soak up the view, delighting in its calming effect, safe from any disaster.

They thought he was ready, they thought he wasn’t ambitious.

He knew he was, he knew he wasn’t.

He smiled, no matter how much a sailor loves the ocean if he can’t swim, he had better not jump in.

Copyright Barbara Taylor.

In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from Barbara Taylor (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories.

 

Life is … 21st edition.

Life is … a treasure wrapped and sustained by these three.

One: pure love. 

Love that heals every sore, never relenting in its quest to vanquish darkness within and without. 

Thus, at times hurting the giver and the receiver as it stretches them both.

Love stays beyond the waning thrones of passion, beyond the clouds of happy moments, to the dark nights of exposed inner skeletons and twisted guts.

Two: pure confidence.

Confidence that stoops to learn: never projecting itself above another, not ashamed to fail or stand out.

Thus, leaving the owner vulnerable to ridicule.

Confidence that says I rather fail for all I believe than for all you think I should belief. I rather admit that I am weak than strong with a quivering self-esteem.

Three: pure honesty.

Honesty that delves into every crevice of the mind exposing true self: fears and dreams alike, ready to acknowledge sprouting roots of discord.

Thus, it does not contemplate deceit.

Honesty that understands that a single lie like an unchecked wildfire can ravage paths to new beginnings, lead us through unnecessary mazes, destroy the sanctity of all we hold dear.

Life is … a treasure ravaged or destroyed

By a lack of or a misconstrued version of these three.


Hi there, thank you for stopping by today. This is the 21st edition of my ‘life is’ series where I try to relate life to different things in society. Would love to hear your thoughts on life is … a treasure.