But I Don’t Like It

I’ll keep this one short.

“But I don’t like it.”

We think that a lot. Why should you do something you don’t like, right? Imagine if we only ever did the things we liked. Things like staying at home, watching tv, playing video games and eating. I would probably sleep and read novels. When you really look at it you’ll see that you wouldn’t be able to do any of that if we all followed suit. For example; for you to sleep someone had to craft the bed you sleep in, whether they liked it or not. It’s the same with the food, someone had to water the plants, till the land, milk the cows. Same with publishing the books etc. In essence we’re all going to be confronted with tasks, responsibilities we won’t necessarily like but that doesn’t remove their necessity from our lives.

I think that’s the biggest issue about growing up. As you age you find more and more responsibility thrust towards you and sometimes you feel like you can’t handle it all. Sometimes you’ll feel like not giving your all because “you don’t like what you’re doing”. Allowing that to stop you is a whole different thing though. It’s an attitude that will really prevent you from succeeding.

Do what you love, absolutely – but beyond even that, do what you gotta do. Do it with all your heart and all your might because the stuff that you enjoy the least requires the greatest amount of effort. Do what you don’t like without complaint and with maximum effort because at the root of it all doing what you don’t like well… gives you the means to do what you DO like more.

What It Feels Like Writing A Blog

I’m not doing this right. That’s what I tell myself half the time. But it really doesn’t matter because it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want – and it feels glorious!

I would definitely recommend having a blog or writing about anything of interest in your spare time. Deciding to post daily has really helped me take notice of my life and things that I encounter especially since I’m focused on seeing things out of the norm now. I have to help keep my content educational, motivational, interesting and varied. Thus I can no longer stay in my room or do the same activities day by day.

Writing this blog has helped me not be lazy, it’s done the opposite of what I thought and inspired me to go out more. I have frequently found myself asking, “What can I add to my blog today?” And it feels absolutely amazing when I find something and post it.

I’ve only been at it fully for a couple of weeks now. Let’s say I did this daily for a year. Each post is about a page long, give or take. 365 pages… That’s a book. I still haven’t really finished one. All I have done so far is write a couple of pages and give up – but I’ve decided to try again. So starting on the 15th of next month I’ll be writing new entries for a book alongside my daily posts.

It should be a cracking ride. Enjoy.

If You Woke Up And You Were Ten Again

Today I met an awesome group of young men. One of them, perhaps the most eloquent of the bunch, was leading the discussion titled: “Dreams”.

The guy’s name’s Frank. He’s also frank, a characteristic I find integral in possessing a wholly good personality. He led with the discussion with this thought-provoking question: “If you woke up tomorrow and discovered that the last ten years had been a dream, how would you feel?”

Elashe, a lanky young man with a strong grip and rigid frame, immediately replied, “Fam I’d be happy!”

This kicked my brain into gear as I started wondering why one would answer like that. Then it hit me just as someone began describing their reaction.

“I’d be really great. Honestly. There are a lot of dumb decisions I’ve made in my life that I’d never have to regret. I’d be wiping my slate completely clean. I would tell myself what I need to learn and what I need to avoid. I’d love people more and build good relationships while avoiding the bad ones.”

Makes sense right? We all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions in life and we all at one point have wished we could go back in time and undo some things we’ve done and still regret. Imagine stopping the habits that have been holding you back. Imagine having made greater plans for your life, picking the right subjects in school, reading the right books, learning an instrument at a younger age, a language etc. One could prevent a lot of heartbreak and even physical pain and in some cases, death but would we really be happy if we went back in time… should we?

All these things played around in my mind as we exchanged our thoughts on the issue, everyone with a compelling story, good reasoning as to why they would feel or react as they would. My turn came and I said something I’m even more convinced of now after having done some reflection.

“It totally makes sense to want to go back,” I said, “I’ve made some choices I wish I could take back. Poor decisions that have hurt me as well as the people I love. I do wish I could undo some things that I’ve done and do things better but at the same time all those mistakes I’ve made have contributed to the man I am today.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that as I am, I’m the most fantastic person on the planet. I’m not even the best version of myself – not yet. I think that guy is in my past as well as in my future. In my past when I was willing to obey, more naïve, innocent and excited about everything in life. In my future because at present I think I’m growing, relearning the good things I did in the past and trying to learn new things, better things right now.

If we were to wipe away the last ten years of our lives we’d be wiping away all the bad things, our mistakes etc… But we’d also be wiping away all the good things we’ve done. All of our successes and hard work would have culminated in nothing. Frank said earlier, and it still cranks me up, “I’d be devastated. All the gains that I worked so hard to obtain in the gym would be gone.”

Now look – life sometimes gives you lemons. You may not even like lemonade so I won’t force the rest of that saying upon. But we are who we are because of all the experiences we have had up to this point. The best way for us to continue to grow is to accept this and stop the “what ifs” or “I wish” type of thoughts. The worst thing about this hypothetical question is just that… it’s hypothetical. To make things worse even if it were possible… what is there to guarantee that we won’t make new mistakes; worse mistakes? There’s no way to know for sure.

So I’ll close with this. Maybe you weren’t dealt the best cards over the years. Maybe you didn’t make all the right decisions. Of everyone who has ever lived on this planet maybe only one never made an error. Accept all the dumb decisions you’ve made or the circumstances that befell you that you couldn’t avoid. Look forward to what’s ahead and let your aim be to make sure that your tomorrow is better than your yesterday.

My Second Most Embarrassing Moment

As penance for not going through with my daily posts I’ve decided to add this more personal one. If I don’t put up a daily post in the future I’ll post my most embarrassing moment to date. Hopefully that won’t be necessary.

PS This post ties in quite nicely to my last, so do check it out.

Occasion: Prize-giving Night/Ceremony.

Setting: First place at new school after having failed miserably during the first couple of months of ‘integration’.

Location: Eaglesvale Preparatory School, Harare, Zimbabwe

Time: Sometime after 6 pm (which is usually full on night time in Harare.)

The night had gone better than planned. I felt immensely proud of my achievement and I was happy to note that I had brought joy to my parents as well as my little sister. Can you imagine that she elected to sit on my lap throughout the proceedings? That was really adorable, wasn’t it? Now she’s far too tall and old to do so without breaking my hipbone. Sitting to my right was the second placed student, Ruva was (I should probably say is unless she changed names) her name. She was giggling the whole time, something I guess I’d long attributed to her nature. If something was funny she’d let those around her know it, a redeemable trait if you asked me (at the time).

If you read my last post then you’ll understand why I was elated. I was beyond ecstatic on the night and the excitement I felt was just waiting for the right person then it would burst out of me… I could feel it bubbling throughout the ceremony, just waiting to erupt.

The proceedings kept the students winning prizes segregated from the main student body as well as their parents. So I would only be seeing mine (possessive pronoun because I love them) when they got to the car. Parents would have tea and cake, refreshments of all sorts waiting for them… students would have to find out where the cars were parked and wait there, in the dark.

I found the car. Mitsubishi Chariot, huge thing, especially to a ten year old version of myself – one who hadn’t encountered SUVs before. I waited in the dark for my parents to come so I could give them both hugs and share squeals of delirious delight. Then I saw my mother approaching, in the dark, and ran to her like a wild animal let out of it’s cage for the first time in years.

“Mommy! I…”

I’m sure you get it now… It wasn’t my mother I’d run towards… It wasn’t my mother who had witnessed me screaming gleefully… No, it wasn’t my mother… It was Ruva’s! And boy did she laugh.

I can hear it even now, eleven years on. I feel if there was an escalator between heaven and earth the people at the top would have been trembling from the shockwaves of her laughter. I’m sure that even in the vacuum of space it could be heard. So loud and genuine was her laugh that it shattered all of my ego. My large, proud head was brought down to size and then some. Oh – to top it off, her Mom giggled too…

To this day I don’t know why I reacted the way I did. Maybe I could have kept my cool better? But I was 10 and this was a major achievement for several reasons. Ruva’s mother was a bit on the plump and short side, especially in the dark. In 2006 my mother fit that profile. It was also dark and they were walking towards me. But I’d made a massive mistake. Before today only four people knew about it. The three that took part included. Only one of them remembers it vividly. (Unless I have DID/MPD.)

After the whole debacle, the next day even, I was told that they’d seen me make my way to the car and had wanted to congratulate me on my first place award. That obviously didn’t happen as planned. Completely bewildered by the awkward proceedings, Ruva’s mother found it best to abruptly change direction and her daughter and she went to the car using a different route.

“Ndiye Ayanda akangwara wacho iyeyu?” she asked incredulously as Ruva’s earth-shuddering cackle FINALLY subsided. This loosely translates to, “This is the genius you were telling me about? Really? This guy?” Only to have her daughter start laughing again.

Needless to say everytime I talk to my friend I recall this meeting. Thankfully she doesn’t bring it up (too often). It may have happened over a decade ago but it still ranks second on my list of embarrassing moments.

 

 

An Example Of Excellent Parenting

This is why I cannot accept defeat in failure

In the summer of 2006 (normally winter in the northern hemisphere) my parents attended their first Parent – Teacher Consultation at my new school. I’d moved a few months prior and had just received the worst report card in my, then short, academic life. Their response to the ordeal they faced is just one of many reasons why I feel blessed to be their son.

The backdrop of the story is this. I’d previously attended a government run school for the first four years of my primary education. Consisting of nearly fifty students a class it was quite competitive at the top end. Yet with their influence, great teaching and, I believe, some natural talent (as well as ‘luck’) a young Ayanda Joe Munikwa came top of the class on three separate occasions in the four years I was there. The joy of my first prize giving ceremony will come later, maybe tomorrow?  We’ll see. Anyway I’d been moved to a private school. My parents had invested a great deal of money because they wanted what was best for me. Personally in their shoes I would have bought a new car, tv or something; but not them. They did this only to see me failing at nearly everything I touched. I was below mediocre. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was so confused at the time I thought “dictionary” and “diary” were synonymous (story filed for yet another day). It seemed like nothing was going according to plan.

So with all this having occurred, my parents dressed smartly for the Consultation. If you thought I was a fish out of water, you should have seen their more than slightly nervous expressions as they exchanged looks. They looked gorgeous by the way, no bias. Anyway they headed in to the classroom at their appointed time to meet my teacher; The One Who Shall Not Be Named.

I’m sure you picked up the Voldermort link. I still talk to one of my closest friends, who was in the same class with me back then, about him. Maybe it was the stress of twenty odd kids looking fresh faced and seeming not to understand anything. Or maybe it was the stress of the impending inflation that was even then gnawing at every working adult’s pockets. Maybe he was just naturally bitter and mean. But boy did he love taking it out on us and anyone he came across. His personality was as blunt as his face, but I appreciate him now because even he has turned around. (A story for ANOTHER day)

The man I spoke of above was the man they were going to meet. I was convinced he hated me. When they came back and told me what he had said I was even more convinced. Apparently I was “beyond help” and, to put it bluntly, “stupid”. He was also perplexed as to how I passed the entrance exam in the first place. I was apparently one of his worst students. While they recounted his words I could see in their eyes two things, pain being one of them. But even deeper, even at that young age I could see it, the second thing, resolution.

“I know you. You’re my intelligent boy! My genius! Maybe you didn’t do so well this time but I trust you more than I trust this teacher. Final exams are coming up. Go show them what you’re made of.”

I didn’t cry in their presence, even then I tended not to do that. But I did when I was alone in my room afterwards. Then I made a conscious decision to kick ass in school, prove my parents right and my teacher wrong.

Needless to say I came first. Every year for the next three years of my primary school education. Even when they introduced streaming in the sixth grade where the “top students” from both classes were merged into a separate class. Oh I also broke their (then) recent record for the National Exam. This isn’t me just mollycoddling my ego, this is just to prove a point. None of those meagre achievements would have been possible if my parents had chosen to withdraw their love and support.

Sure there are different ways to approach the problem – the problem of my plummeting grades after sending me to a supposedly better school. But I believe they chose the right way, not only because of the exam results that followed but because of the opinion of them that was formed in my mind that day… one I still hold to this very day. And one I hope to inspire in my own children in the future.

Why Female?

Random conversation thought

Boy: You look a female celeb I know.

Girl: Why female? Why not just celeb?

Boy: See I thought you’d see the window of opportunity to propose a male celeb’s name – and use it. For example:

‘You look like a celeb I know.’

“George Clooney?”

Then I’d have to blush because I’d feel embarrassed OR produce an awkward laugh (because it wouldn’t be genuine laughter).

That’s why I went with female celeb.

Girl: …

This came across to me while walking home in a slight drizzle on my way back from Camden. Make of that what you will.