It’s a Monday morning as I write this letter- around 7am on July 19th 2021. I am currently sitting at my study desk, I have been up for the past 4hours, getting some work done and listening to sermons and worship.
I do not know the direction this letter will take or whether it will be published or left in drafts. But I am compelled to write, so I will.
You’re currently at a stage in life that is very paradoxical. Things are going extremely great and extremely tragic in a frighteningly simultaneous manner. The past years haven’t been any easier too, but you are a tough girl- always have and always will be.
In this space, you have committed to re-ignite your relationship with God and I couldn’t be more proud of you. I believe there are seasons that can only be understood, survived and appreciated in the presence of the Lord. Infact, I believe ALL seasons can only be understood, survived and appreciated in the presence of the Lord.
You have been writing more consistently this year as you promised to do at the beginning. I am proud of your commitment. I am especially proud of the perseverance even on days when you would rather cave in and allow the wave of writer’s block to swipe over.
As you lose and find yourself in words, I hope letters such as this one serve as the needed view of the transition you have had when getting to the place you desire to be.
With God by your side, nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37)
I pray you look (read) back on moments such as this one and see growth, resilience, humility, learnt lessons, love, joy and peace in the journey.
I pray you learn to appreciate both the highs and low.
I pray you understand that it’s okay to be flawed and imperfect as there is not one without sin but it is God who forgives and cleanses us.
1 John 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.
I pray you learn from your mistakes and be intentional about being better.
I pray you resist the urge to redefine who you are or dilute your identity and self perception with the words of others.
I pray you remember you are who God says you are- above all else.
I have been meditating on the song titled “More Than Gold” by Judikay and I have been inspired to share on what it means to me, in this season and generally.
But first, here is the song:
Lately, I have been in a season which, all things being equal, should be one of my happiest ever. Almost everything I ever prayed for has come to fruition. Unfortunately, in this very season, I have been feeling more empty and lost than usual.
At first, I couldn’t put an exact finger on why the feelings were that way. I took a few steps back and begun evaluating my relationship with God and with people that matter most to me. I very quickly found myself lacking. I then realized that in this fast paced life full of various goals, ambitions and desires, I slacked in keeping my relationship with God as intense and consistent as it should be. The emptiness was a longing, a yearning… for a flame that once burnt so brightly.
“As a deer pants for water, so my soul longs for you …“
The song by Judikay really speaks volumes when it comes to the reality of the void in worldly possessions and achievements. God is truly all that is more than gold. One could “have it all” but without God, there really would be no contentment or peace. He is after all, the only one that gives peace that surpasses all human understanding.
” More than riches, more than life… Jesus is more than Gold…”
So, in this season, I am being intentional about re-igniting the flame. I love that scripture assures me that once I draw close to Him, He will draw close to me. Such a blessed assurance.
“Sweet Jesus, you’re the eyes that Isee through. Sweet Jesus, I am dancing to your tune …”
Firstly, to all my returning readers, THANKYOU so much for being part of this journey. To those visiting this blog for the first time, please do feel at home and come over often :).To everyone that likes, comments and engages in whichever way- I see you and I appreciate you (BIG HUGS).
Over the past days, I have had an amazing time creating, reading and interacting with other amazing bloggers as Afrobloggers from all over the world, challenged winter by bringing a lot of HEAT to the blogging platforms. I couldn’t imagine any better ice-breaking week than the one we have had.
For those who may not know, we are 4 days into the #WinterABC 2021 Challenge. Details are below:
As seen in the image above, this week was Creatives Week and it is no surprise that creatives- SHOWED UP & SHOWED OFF (*standing ovation). Congratulations to everyone that has made it through the 4/22 days!!! As my pat on the back to you all here is a song to jam to:
One thing I noticed as I read through various posts from fellow bloggers is that, there was an invisible string that seemed to tie most perspectives together. I also noticed that were some raised questions, others unknowingly gave solutions. As the title of this blog suggests, and as will be my last day custom through the weeks – I’ll dedicate this last day sharing reviews, highlights and lessons learnt from other creatives.
Notably, it would take me about a thousand pages to adequately review ALL the amazing content I came across. As such, if for a reason or another I haven’t gotten the chance to review any of the work you did, please do not feel some type of way. As this is just Week 1, trust that by the time we drop our pens on Day 22, I would have reviewed most of your content. Needless to say, you’re doing an amazing job!
Soooo … let’s get into it, shall we …
For some coherence, I will group my reviews in general topics and share views that came through from bloggers around that topic. From my observation, the 3 mainly blogged about topics this week included: Imposter syndrome; Value of creatives (money talk) and Advice on how to stay motivated as a creative.
Imposter Syndrome was one of the most frequented topics this week. In sharing on this topic, Denzel (https://blavkprint.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/the-creative-life-blogging-imposter-syndrome/) recounted his personal experiences battling Imposter Syndrome as a creative. When he wrote that, ” As someone who mostly leans towards poetry I cannot shake off the feeling that I am not a real blogger because I don’t tackle topical issues such as politics, religion or economics. I am more than capable of doing that as someone who has in the past studied liberal arts/ social sciences however, I feel disconnected from that intellectual side of content creation and I have the utmost respect for people in these niches because for me blogging is an escape from that world……” I could have almost sworn he stole the words from my mind/heart – which ever runs deeper. It reminded me though, that blogging as an art looks different for everyone. Thank God for niches! It is very easy to feel like you don’t belong when surrounded by different styles and talents. I used to feel this way until I embraced creative writing as my stronghold.
We had another take on imposter syndrome from Benjamin (https://musanjufukavubu.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/imposter-syndrome-or-insecurity/). To begin with, I must state that Benjamin adequately embodies “questioning the question”. His posts are flavoured with controversy and will usher one into critical thinking. Particularly, in this post, which he called Imposter Syndrome or Insecurity (the title itself got me thinking…) he stated that “I will not go into the various types of imposter syndrome, because I don’t think what creatives in Africa face isreally it”– Controversial perspective. I understand that was being communicated is that, whereas feelings of inadequacy or inferiority (key components of Imposter Syndrome) may not be prevalent among African creatives, there is insecurity that develops because of a number of factors. On this note, he had the following advice to give: “If you are creative with wings especially, try to spread them out in the bid to avoid the feeling of inadequacy. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help the situation but only makes it worse. So slow down and find a pace that gives you joy even in the face of deadlines. Don’t get into senseless disputes with fellow creatives even when they come at you. Don’t at any moment block new ones, let them be an opportunity to make your work fresh.” and I couldn’t agree more.
I conclude this topic by highlighting the words of Shazzy in https://sanctuaryofgreatness.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/embrace-being-weird/ were she encouraged creatives to embrace being weird. She furnished a reminder worth bookmarking, by stating that: “As a creative, never allow fear of not feeling good enough about yourself make you to stop doing what makes you happy. Your skills and talents are good enough just as they are. Readers enjoy creative people who are honest and do not hold themselves back. You are an amazing ‘weird’ person. Yes sometimes you feel like you are the odd one out from other creatives. You feel like your content is not good enough or you are just too different to fit in the blogging community. Perhaps like me you feel like you do not belong and no one will ever read your work let alone engage – I think it’s important to still celebrate your weird you“
2. VALUE OF CREATIVE$$ (see the dollar signs? lol deliberate!)
It goes without saying that there is a unanimous cry from creatives to be paid more in the industry. Most creative’s input till date is paid through attention and recognition and rarely through money.
The agonies faced by most creatives were accurately captured by Valentine (https://valentinewrites.co.zw/writers-doubt/) when he artistically lamented that, “But, one still needs income. If, for nothing else, sustenance. Food. None of my scribbling and musings are commissioned; purchased; or subsidized. The thought of street performances for tips in bond notes haunts. One degree of separation removed from begging and destitution“.
The Afterthought broadened the perspective in the post titled, “Creatives: Chasing Purpose“(https://totheafterthought.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/creatives-chasing-purpose/) She began by feeding our thoughts with the question “Would you rather die with fulfilled potential or die with a pot of gold?“. Whereas there are moments when the purpose comes with the money, most times creatives have found themselves in instances were their purpose or passion is treated as a “side hustle or leisure activity” because it can’t exactly pay the bills. This reminds me of a tagline in the linked post by the Afterthought which said, “There is that space between the dream and its manifestation. Its probably called frustration“. Lol so relatable. All in all, she encouraged people to, “… go to sleep with a deep sense of accomplishment. Not simply going through the rat race” and I couldn’t agree more.
In a post titled, Creativity: The New Money ( https://blackmwanasmemoir.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/creativity-the-new-money/), Blackmwana’s Memoir shared rays of hope for creatives by stating that, “the digital revolution and technology have opened doors for most creatives creating more avenues to make money (the new money). This has made creatives becomes trailblazers of innovative ideas” The post went further to explain the benefits of being a creative from an economic perspective. These include: Youth employment, Networking among peers, business growth and earning an income whilst having fun!
One thing can be agreed on for sure, the lamentations shared by creatives are valid. But, in a world where digital transformation is on a rise, now more than ever creatives will be an integral part of the traditional jobs. Influencers and creatives who have mastered the art of engaging and interacting in various forms will be the paid windows of growth for many.
However, it is still VERY okay to just want to create for fun, purpose or leisure and not be money oriented with your craft. Some have argued that monetizing something you enjoy doing may kill the spark. But then again, to each their own.
3. HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AS A CREATIVE
This was another topic tackled by most creatives this week. It was refreshing to read tips and shared experiences on what other bloggers do to keep on keeping on. Some of my highlights in this topic, where as follows:
How I keep my creative juices flowing by justynlove (https://justynlove.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/day-2-how-i-keep-my-creativity-juices-flowing/) was a refreshing sharing around this topic. She begun by reminding us how creativity is intelligence having fun [heyyyy fun having intellectuals :)] and went on to share what she does to stay motivated. The activities listed include: going to the beach; watching sunsets; taking long drives; road trips; eating fries (found this interesting lol as a lover of fries); listening to music; reading music; sitting in silence and conversations with friends. My key take away from this is that inspiration can come in different forms. I also sensed a lot of self awareness from the post which I found encouraging. It is vital for creatives to know themselves and what works for them.
I also found Wonani’s letter to creatives (https://doseofwonani.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/letter-to-the-creatives/) very encouraging too. She gave a heart warming and much needed reminder when she said: “Unfortunately, it is normal to feel empty. It’s normal to have days when you simply can’t pour, or when the words you’ve put together aren’t turning into a sweet melody for the soul. It is normal to have moments when your fleeting thoughts are just that, fleeting. In moments like this, take time to feed your mind and your soul. Take time to bask in what you and others have created. There is a lot to learn from other people and a lot to learn from the creator of the heavens and the earth, the master craftsman” Taking time to feed the mind and soul stood out for me. I’m reminded that as creatives we can’t pour from an empty cup. We have to stay fueled and filled in order to sufficiently pour out.
All in all, I am so excited to have joined the Afrobloggers community this year and even more thrilled to be taking part in the #WinterABC2021 challenge along side all amazing creatives.
Looking forward to what is in store for next week!
Until then, please feel free to share some of the posts/phrases/experiences that stood out for you this week.
I haven’t done this in a while. But sometimes push comes to shove and no other option is left. I make this entry during the lunch break of a busy working day and an emotionally devastating day. My heart has been aching lately but today? today it shattered in a million pieces and between my professional obligations and limited time to process everything going on- I have found myself in a trench. I am not okay. I hope I will be though. I’ll fight to be.
I am trying to find the right words to pour out without pouring it all out. Because, you know- I’m guarded. This will be the most uncoordinated post I’ll make. But I liken it to writing a letter and throwing it deep in the ocean. Not knowing how far it will sink, but hoping that as it does, it drowns the negativity looming over my heart.
So maybe, maybe I should the list things that I hate/ that make me unhappy. Perhaps, as I overshare, the lump on my throat will dissolve and I’ll be able to breathe better for the rest of the day than I have in the past hours.
I hate that life, love and experiences in general are temporary.
I hate that I feel too deeply.
I hate that my highs are HIGH and my lows are LOW.
I hate that human interaction leaves so much room for misunderstandings.
I hate that I have to show up, despite how I feel.
I hate that I’m crying as I type this.
I hate that I cant fully express how I feel.
I hate that I cant fully understand why I feel.
I hate that life is cyclic.
I hate that I cant be assured this is the last time I will be in the place I am in right now.
I hate that some people who care about me may read this and want to check up on me but I wont be willing or ready to have the conversation.
I hate the power my mind has over me.
I hate that I elude happiness.
I hate that I hate soooo many things …
I hate that even after typing all this, I do not feel any better.
If you’re anything like me, you are or have been inclined to a rush-prone love. One that makes the head spin, legs weak and stomach rumble. For a long time, this was a version of love I held to be true. The spin of my head had to be strong enough to topple my head over my heels whenever I fell in love. Anything different was not ‘enough love’, or so I believed. Until, he came along …
His was the kind of love that came softly. It cradled my spirit and embraced my soul with a gentle kindness like none I had experienced before. But, “where was the rush I was accustomed to?” my heart often wondered. Doubting, if it would be safe to fall for this peculiar, yet wholesome version of love. But, the more he laid down the beat, the more I carried the tune. I knew there and then I did not want to be a ‘one man band’.
That’s when I learnt that sometimes, love comes … softly.
It softly learns your ways
It softly understands your scars
It softly holds your entire being- sometimes through the palms of affirming words
It softly and consistently chooses you over and over and over again
Can’t believe we are already in the fourth month of the year… time is indeed fleeting.
As we welcome April, we are drawn out of the first quarter of 2021. My unsolicited quarterly highlights of the year (which I have spontaneously thought of sharing) are as follows:
This blog got a special feature on a podcast review!!! Was truly honoured to have 16 minutes dedicated to reviewing some of my poetry. Thankyou Louisa Msiska, the voice behind The Failed Poet podcast ( https://anchor.fm/thefailedpoet )
I overcame imposter syndrome as far as my artistic journey is concerned, I know I may relapse here and there but for now, I BELIEVE IN MY SAUCE & MAJIC and most importantly, I’ll keep learning and growing.
Joined a group of my lawyer friends as we hope to create something to benefit the community- I’ll be sharing on this more as the execution process goes along.
I survived burnout and severe exhaustion – we live in a very high pressure era and I found myself slipping at some point in the quarter. I’m glad I pulled through.
God saved the life of someone I love dearly. This has been my GREATEST BLESSING in the first quarter.
Having shared the above, I must say, I can’t help but be optimistic about what the rest of this year has in store. The first quarter has been generally flavoured with loss of loved ones for most people as we continue to fight the COVID pandemic. As such, I don’t take it for granted that despite the world order, the sun has been finding time to shine on me.
I was about to blog another Honest Musing when I realised this is my 50th blog post!!!!! (insert frantic screams of joy!!!!). Honestly, for someone that started blogging as far back as 2016, I should be pulling more numbers. But, if you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I have not been a consistent blogger for a while and that I struggled with writers’ block for years (yeah that long… crazy, I know).
This year, I decided to be more intentional about growth and consistency as far as keeping this blog up and running is concerned. To be honest, writing is one of my all time effective coping mechanism- being unable to write despite my need to was not a good place for me to be. I am glad I made the choice to keep going at it and even more glad that I joined a community of fellow bloggers across Africa (SHOUT OUT AFRO BLOGGERS!!!) to help me stay committed- directly and indirectly. I am sooo excited for what the future holds for my blog and I.
Here’s a huge shout out and THANK YOU to:
All my readers
Everyone who has given me reviews so far
My muses (lol)
Fellow bloggers who keep on, despite. Your commitment and creativity inspires me to keep going at it.
Finding the right words to explain the first taste of failure is one of the hardest things to do as it can be triggering.
Failure is subjective and what one would consider as failure may not be considered as such from another’s perspective. But try telling that to an eleven-year-old girl who has not achieved something she had been wanting so bad. The notion of a mere “perspective shift” is as impossible as it is insensitive.
Suddenly, all the prior awards and gratifications leading up to that point didn’t seem to carry as much weight. Living through the consequences of the “failure” miles away from the people I loved was the salt on the wound. Furthest I’d been, most hurt I’d been, that far.
Learning how to fight the storm on my own. Wish I could say it built someone “so resilient that no amount of pain could ever shake her after that” but I’d be lying, this was just the beginning of the downs in life’s “ups and downs”. Every encounter unique in its own way.
Many drizzles later, the sun did shine- I learnt that life offers second chances and when it does… one must be brave enough to unapologetically grab them with both hands.
It’s the day after International Women’s Day, this year we #ChoseToChallenge stereotypes and biases in the continuous fight for equality and smashing of the patriarchy. Yesterday was flowered with conferences, hashtags and empowering dialogues to honour women.
It’s the day after International Women’s Day and today is not as loud as yesterday. Work places are back to business as usual and the flowers given yesterday are slowly starting to wither away. The echoes of cries of emancipation for the girl child are still resounding though the tone is not as mighty and uniform as it was yesterday. Thankfully, the hope for a better tomorrow remains in sight.
It’s the day after International Women’s Day and very soon the days will turn into weeks which will turn into months up until next year, when yet again another theme will roll out and the fight will carry on.
But, my mind wanders to what will happen between now and the next International Women’s Day.
Will women receive the work force support that allies pledged yesterday?
Will women collaborate rather than compete as agreed yesterday?
Will the girl child be safer?
Will the world be kinder?
Will what we chose to challenge be truly challenged and hopefully defeated?
It’s the day after International Women’s Day and I hope-
I hope between now and the next International Women’s Day, we each play our part in making the world a better place for every woman.