In the Middle of Everywhere!

Have you ever felt stuck in the Middle of Everywhere?

In the Middle of Everywhere

In the Middle of Everywhere

Imagine for a minute that you are stuck in “space”. Let’s call that space, a basement. There is limited natural light, it is really cold in the Winter, floods with melting snow when Spring comes, hot in the Summer. For most part of the year, you cannot tell day or night, except by the hourly talk of your alarm clock or when your TV announces the news. Since you are in constant fear of missing your daybreak due to lack of sunlight, you have to keep some kind of artificial light on 24-hours. You decide, the lead light will be the cheapest.

Though, none of the solutions seems to work because you still feel stuck in a basement. You are losing yourself. You are losing your creativity, your energy, your imagination and your umph! Every idea you come up with, seems to evaporate right before you put it on paper. You really don’t know where you are headed. You go to bed everyday, with a promise to wake up and accomplish at least one goal per day. Yet, the energy dwindles from you half way into your goal of the day!

Stuck in the basement, you are losing your sense of direction. You are losing your confidence. You are losing your trust in miracles. You begin feeling that  life has given up on you, and connived against your flourishing and success. Yet, you cannot get back any time, minute or second that has gone by you.

The basement is swallowing your pride, as much as it is enhancing your bitterness. The basement is stimulating your delusion and destabilization more than your boosting your determination. The basement is where dreams no longer come true, where dreams die, dreams become confused, and entangled in mourning, regret, bouts of sadness and soul searching.

You want to get out of the basement. You vow to get out of the basement. You give yourself a timeframe to quit the basement. Yet you no longer seem to know how the paths to tread. Or perhaps you know, but the basement has eaten up your courage to get out. The only time you step out of the basement is for a cup of tea upstairs, or go for a run outside or to the bus stop. Or perhaps you are embarrassed to show your face to the world that has held you up, expecting a lot of you and from you. You would rather shut your face away from the world that expects high performance from you.

You are in the middle of everywhere, yet you are alone and lonely. You do not wanna be alone, yet alone is when you feel the most relaxed and humanized. What else is there to live for? The basement reminds you of all the responsibilities you have incurred in life. The knowledge you have and continue to amass, which needs to be put to use for yourself and those in your life. The basement reminds you to show it appreciation for shielding you from the wrath of the world, and give back to the world. The basement is where it all unfolds-folds-unfolds again. Yet, you cannot fold yourself up forever.

There is no noise in the basement, except for the occasional rotation of the extra fan, turned on when it is really cold, or the TV or clock at the top of the hour. The basement offers a huge place to breath ideas, recapture them before they disappear from your imagination, escaping your little fingers. Put them on paper, transport them into virtual reality, into other people’s spaces.

In the Middle of Everywhere is where your creativity should come back to life. Move out of the basement, hit the streets and never look back into the basement. You will be a giant, again, In the Middle of Everywhere….Everywhere but the basement!

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Perhaps there is Freedom in Suffering?

It is a given that all humans live in pursuit of happiness! We all want to be happy, with ourselves, our loved ones and our families. We want to enjoy life, and always wish the best for ourselves. None of us wishes to be bonded to pain, sadness or misery.
Our pursuit of happiness manifests itself in different forms. Self-help books, filled with “lessons on becoming/staying happy”. Shrinks in form of psychologists, psychiatrists, religious prophetesses and prophets, guidance counselors and friends, all remind us how worthy of happiness we are. Lest we forget the “Happy Singer” Pharrell Williams, whose “happy” has ‘infected’ every corner of the world, including places amidst chaos and war. Fitness and body weight loss programs restore and build our happiness, as are TV, video and radio and plenty of other entertainment disposable to make us happy. Implicitly, Happiness is the ultimate measure of personal freedom; sadness the worst form of human living, which should be avoided at all costs!
Perhaps we are all wrong! That sadness is after all not fatal, not miserable and not undesirable. Perhaps there is freedom in suffering? Freedom to liberate, to take time off the world’s absurdities into oneself. Time to reflect and rejuvenate oneself, time to ponder over one’s failures, disappointments and hurtful moments, then recreate success, satisfaction, love and happiness. Through suffering, we might find the strength to claim our space in an unfamiliar, unjust and uninviting world. We might stop being voiceless by finding our voice, or among others concerned about their plight. We might also find the creativity to rebuild our lives and reclaim economic, political and social security for ourselves and loved ones. We might create our bubble of happiness, false or real, longterm or short-lived.
Here, I am thinking of Gays and Lesbians, very often living as outlaws in many societies, but are able to find avenues for self-expression. Transforming alienation, antagonism and ostracism they face into spaces to display of themselves to the ‘unsuspecting’ public through art, spoken word, activism, performance, dressing and festivities. Through disobedience they are transforming their suffering into freedom from confinement in the ‘underground’/‘unseen’ world into outer space.
Battered and abused spouses, as well, find freedom in suffering, through silence or disobedience against demands of their abusive spouses. For some, sexual intercourse is the channel for release their suffering at the hands of abusive spouses for a ‘momentary’ moment(s) of enjoyment. Sexual intercourse transpositions them into a world away from their sadness, reconnecting with their inner most desires and blissfulness. Others find freedom in infidelity with ‘lovers’, one-off strangers or sex workers. Married men buy prostitutes to satisfy their sexual infatuation. Overtime, some of the transactions transcend mere sexual encounter, as the sex worker becomes a listening ear and shoulder to cry on about their marital woes, an avenue to release oneself freely, a source of ‘free’ marriage counseling and education in sexual intimacy. Married women also take on lovers or boyfriends for sexual satisfaction, and to feel desired, adored and youthful again.
Even the unemployed find freedom in suffering a financial loss and job insecurity. The mind is released from the daily demands of a work-life to wander off into places of sadness to imagination to creativity. The loss and pain that often comes with unemployment also avails one more time to think, invent, regain the courage to rebuild oneself, and recreate one’s freedom, through a new employment elsewhere, or by creating own employment.
Drug addicts unleash their pain and suffering through drugs, even if its a few minutes of ‘make-believe’ happiness. I have learned that crack cocaine users ultimately become addicted in a search for “that first high”, that can never be attainable again. They just want to relieve that moment of no fear, wild happy feelings and flying high in the cloud.
Ultimately, even in the most suffering comes moments of freedom for all of us. Moments when we would rather not be disturbed by any offers of love, attention or comfort from outside ourselves. When we all resort to the power within us to overcome suffering and define and recreate our freedom on our terms.

Re-testing my Mental Stamina

I am re-experimenting with my mental stamina. I am sure you are surprised that I say, “I am re-testing my mental stamina!” Especially if you know me, since I am always testing oneself. After all, my running routines are always a mental test; going out for five miles, and coming back 20 miles later! Running in single digit temperatures, after a snowstorm and the hottest of summer. Even my family balancing acts are a mental test with the relations involved, the activities I engaged in, the people I am around and my commitment to super-excellence for my son [who, bless his soul!] sometimes I think I am demanding too much of him😘).

Anyway, this experiment, which is now a day old, going on two today is not exactly new in my life. Though it has been a while since I did and kept to it with perfection. That was when my child was a toddler, and I had more flexibility, and more support managing and caring for him. I did not have the daily routine of cooking, cleaning, bathing and caring for me. I had family to support (that time I lived in Uganda). I had people who really cared and supported me, and I could genuinely count on!

Right now, I am the father and mother and grandma and cousin. I am the unassisted and overwhelmed jack-of-all-trade! At a time when my geographical, economic and social spaces are completely weighing down my emotional, mental and physical stability. I am very good at shrugging off visible pains and agony in the public, trying not to hang personal linen out in the public.

For my own sanity, and to spare my son and my family’s name. I use mental health to dissuade myself from going crazy, bitter or tumble into a permanent wreck. I will go on a run to recover from a slump, to clear my mind and break anew. To remove myself from a situation or from peoples causing sadness and grief to me, and to feel good about myself. In sum, I run for fun, to feel wild, free, young, liberated and centered. I consciously avoid self-labeling as “depressed”, to avoid getting trapped into any such a situation. Yet, I cannot stop myself from self-labeling as, “flabby and nasty looking”, if that is how I feel, increasingly more and more.

I went through a]nother] life transformation last year, to live a life [again] for my son. Of course change is not always desirable or positive. Certain change is painful!, extremely painful! Particularly, one that causes loss of all safety-nets, and increases chances of dependence, vulnerability and shame. Story of my life. So, for the last year, I have transfigured, stuck in the mud and tasted lots of bitter tomatoes. All that packaged in a “nutty professor suit”, and increasingly weighing me down and under! I am trying to get myself out of the ditch, using my very best adornment – mental willpower. Hopefully, I will succeed in fighting off all the temptations.

Yesterday, Tuesday, October 28 was the first full day of the beginning of a re-experimenting on myself. Mission accomplished! I did not feel any special cravings or uncontrollable desires, surprisingly! And yes, I had to run my childcare shift: pick up from school bus, to Taekwon-do/Taekwondo class, then back home. I felt quite weak and tired throughout the day, but did not have the opportunity to take a nap. Yes! I also dosed off while typing up these notes, and fell asleep again in Taekwondo class. Good thing, I woke up in time to drive back home. Did good on that.

Homework had to be done, and dinner prepared. Too low on sugar, but mission accomplished. I literally could not stand anything or anyone. But drank water and stayed the course. Hopefully, this is doable for many more days! I wanna try 20, couple of many days. We’ll see how it goes. Otherwise, Day Two (Wednesday, October 29) is going  much better. I am still going on #Teamu20days challenge.