Return To Self: Awakening

When I first started the “Life begins at 40” series back in March, I was honestly still grappling with the shifts that my life had undergone in the past couple of years. In this year alone, there have been such huge fundamental shifts in my persona that at some point I just had to take a break from everything to try and comprehend the transformation. I had never understood why people often said that life began at 40. Now I believe that I have the experience to venture an educated guess. My theory is that most people don’t really try to find their true selves till their late 30s or early 40s. Why? Well, following your tumultuous teens is the adventurous 20s where you are basically trying to find your way in the world – hustling for employment/business, trying to eke out a living. In the late 20s, some people start to settle down and get married, have kids and start to put down roots. Then you usher in your 30s, full of optimism that you have life figured out. This decade, in my opinion, is nothing short of treacherous as far as life is concerned. This is where the

The Silent Tsunami

Photo by Shalom Mwenesi on Unsplash Today I turn a year older. It might as well be ten years older though, based on the events of the last fourteen months. Two heartbreaking deaths, entry and subsequent exit from a business venture, additions to an already complex blended family, not to mention the daily routine of being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend – all this while trying to maintain some notion of sanity. Everyone I tell my story stares at me dumbfounded, wondering how I have managed to get through the past year without being admitted into a mental facility. And yes, not only have I managed to keep my head above water, I have somehow found tranquility in the midst of all the storms that continue to rage around me. A hungry stomach, an empty wallet and a broken heart teach you the most valuable lessons in life. I am not sure who came up with this quote, but it’s a concise summary of my life’s experiences in the past decade. I have endured each of these situations in various degrees of intensity, riding wave after wave of adversity, and somehow getting back on my feet each time

A Tiny Step…and a Challenge.

Exactly one month and one day ago, I saw my dad alive for the final time. I didn’t know then that it would be the final time. That he would take his last breath two days later. He was in good spirits as usual, despite looking frail and being very groggy. The next time I saw him, he was lying peacefully with a beautiful smile on his face, eyes closed in eternal bliss. In life I learnt a lot from him. The man was larger than life after all. I was shocked to find that I am learning even more from him in death. The outpouring of love, support and heart wrenching tributes shared from all the people whose lives he touched have been nothing short of amazing. As a family, we have come to learn of things he was doing for others, of which we had absolutely no clue. I wasn’t particularly close to my dad, no one really was. He wasn’t exactly the touchy feely type of dad, didn’t openly express his feelings – you know, typical African dad. I only told him I loved him once in my entire life – the day he was admitted in

Daddy.

My dad died 13 days ago. That number seems morbidly appropriate right now for some reason. I thought I was ready. Boy was I wrong. You can never be ready. Nothing prepares you for the pain of knowing that you will never see the person you love again. Not even numerous losses prior to the current one. You see I am no stranger to loss. I have lost babies – miscarriages, still births and a devastating tragic loss of a son gone too soon. In the span of one year, I staggered through the loss of my son’s dad and two of my closest friends and colleagues. You could almost say I have mastered the art of grieving if there is such a thing. Almost but not quite. The first time I realized all wasn’t well with my dad was a year ago. He missed work for the first time in five decades. I remember the phone call from my mum with startling clarity. I remember rushing there, wondering what I would find. I remember my relief when she said he was in bed. I remember the way my stomach churned, refusing to accept the possibility that something was seriously

Your Feelings Are Your Problem.

So in my last post I waded into uncharted waters and going by the general silence, I take it my brutal honesty hit a sweet painful spot. Now that I have opened up that can of worms, I might as well bite the bullet and keep going. One of my recent experimental A-ha’s is my new way of dealing with emotions by separating situations from the feelings they create. The basic premise is to deal with the situation or event or whatever has happened in a clinical manner – all feelings aside. Once the situation is dealt with, I then revisit the feelings and deal with those separately. For me this was necessary based on my history of feelings messing up with my head; so this process has worked remarkably well especially over the last one year when I was literally drowning in emotions. I actually stumbled on it  by accident during my grief period last year. If you have lost a loved one then you know how the feelings that accompany loss can completely cripple you till you cannot function at all. In my case the loss was accompanied by some horror sideshows (which I cannot talk about here)

You Are Not That Special…

During my most recent conflict of conscience, I called a close friend (I have painfully few of those now) to get help picking my brain. I knew what I had to do but I needed to hear it out loud to make sure I had covered all my bases. The crux of my inner conflict was a familiar one. I wanted to leave something that I was part of but I felt like my role was really critical and I didn’t want to deal with the guilt of the thing falling apart once I left. So I knew what I needed to do but I was being held back by my self-imposed sense of self-importance. Mind you, I wasn’t even aware that this was the case. So my friend dutifully listened to my tirade and when I was done she made a single comment. “Ronni, you’re not that special.” In the shattered silence that followed, I felt my entire world spin and shift crazily as I absorbed what she had just said. By the way, if you know me well you will know that there are very few people that would have the balls to speak to me in that

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