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.

Because She’s Your Sister

“Treat them like you would your sister,” Dad said referring to girls in general.

But I don’t like my sister. I don’t know if I ever said that out loud but that was one of the first things I needed to learn on the path to being a good man.

So yeah. First-born. 7 years of a selfish life, one that was all about me… then another came along. That person was my sister, and I finally had to learn to share.

At first I was excited. Initially I’d hoped for a brother because I thought that would mean more entertainment. Somehow my parents made me excited for the little girl that was on her way. I can’t remember if in the end I was happy to just finally have a sibling or if they used their powers of persuasion – but excited I was. She came along and I finally, finally had someone to impress. From the onset I put in so much effort. I needed to be the best brother in existence in her eyes. So I’d whisper it to her as a sort of overt subliminal message: “Who’s the best big brother in the world? I am.”

It worked at first. After a few months I discovered peek-a-boo. That was a huge hit. She loved it for an age. Then abruptly she didn’t like me anymore. Maybe my face was too scary, maybe I’d been too enthusiastic when trying to earn her praise, her attention, but so long as I wasn’t required to carry her around she didn’t seem to want me around.

Soon she started walking. Then she didn’t need me to carry her around anymore. Boy did I feel useless, partially because she’d started talking and would actually say I was useless. So… I ignored her. For a long while I did… until something terrible happened.

I can’t even recall what the dispute was about but the toddler that was the sister I had named had really annoyed me. She knew she had annoyed me and had enough of a conscience to feel guilt at that age. So she followed me around saying sorry over and over begging for me to forgive her. I was young too and I wasn’t having it. So I would move from room to room shutting the door. Her short legs couldn’t keep up but if she went on her toes she could open the closed doors. She kept following me wanting my forgiveness. I wouldn’t part with it. At that moment forgiveness wasn’t something I was willing to share. What makes this even sadder is that despite all that anger I cannot for the life of me guess what it was that she had done. I strode for the study, her lil’ legs scrambling after me. I moved to slam the door like I’d done half a dozen times previously… only this time something was in the way. Her pinky came away instantly soaked in red. Next came the screams. My brain couldn’t comprehend what I’d done until she told me through her wails: “Wandikwadza!” That’s Shona for “you hurt me”.

It may have been accidental. Hurting her was never my intention… but those words stuck. The image of a little girl, whose only mission had been to earn my forgiveness, in pain, stuck. (No surprise the situation had turned on its head and I was the one now seeking forgiveness). The rage in my father’s eyes when he pieced together what had happened, stuck. But what stuck most of all were the words he shared after the whole debacle.

“You cannot hurt your sister. You are supposed to be the best of friends. As siblings she will be in your life longer than anyone else you know, longer than your mother and me. She’s just a little girl looking up to her big brother. Do you really want to hurt her?” I didn’t. So I never did ever again.

I was clapped by her a fair number of times as she grew older but would I raise my hand against her? Never. She hurt my feelings all the time, sometimes as a joke – return the favour? Nah. I used every bit of willpower in my arsenal to be the brother I wanted to be. Forced myself to love her till I didn’t need to anymore. Now I do, genuinely. And I have for a long, long time. And I will for even longer, hopefully, no matter what she chooses to do. Because she’s my sister – that’s all that really matters – and no matter what happens to her from this moment on, to me, she always will be my precious lil’ sister.

The Time I Met Will Smith

So the title is clickbait… I never actually met Will Smith, not in the way you’re thinking. I guess encounter is a suitable replacement since it was short-lived. But if we’re going by an “encounter” that lasted a short while without any real personal exchange then yes, I’ve encountered the Fresh Prince before.

See I was a big fan, I still am, partially because I saw my future self in the present Will Smith. An eloquent guy who’s used his talents to the max. The guy has had his hand involved in music, sitcoms, movies as an actor, producer and writer. According to his page on Wikipedia: “He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally, and eight consecutive films in which he starred open at the number one spot in the domestic box office tally.” In short it’s easy to see why he’s so popular. I could go on and talk about his charm etc but I’m not one to praise any human too much, although I did hype myself up a lot in years past but that phase has passed.

Anyway to what you actually want to hear. On the 3rd (?) of August 2016 I waited in Leicester Square from around 7 AM for the London premiere of Suicide Squad. It was scheduled to start at around 1600 onwards but I didn’t know that at the time. I was there before the first of the construction workers/engineers arrived. Long before the security that gives out wristbands required for entry had woken up. I was really excited. I’d only found out about the damn thing the night before and would not miss out on the opportunity to encounter someone I’d looked up to for ages. So I waited, in my favourite, comfortable hoody and pants. I waited… until the moment came.

Soooooo I don’t know exactly how it happened but I found myself near the edge of one of the walkway in Leicester Square. The area was basically inaccessible for the ‘stars’ unless they chose to ride the raised platform. As a fan you think it’s a no-brainer that they’d do it. But in retrospect it makes sense that they wouldn’t dare try (especially the ladies in heels, it was a slick surface). So about 40 other people and I had to watch in horror as Margot Robbie, Cara Delevigne, Jared Leto, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and co walk by just an arm’s length away. If you had the audacity you could stretch over the railing and touch them but the security would be on you in a heartbeat and they seemed content, eager in fact, to guide the celebrities as far from our corner as possible. We were all devastated. You have to understand. Across the walkway, about 10 yards from where I stood, people were taking selfies and exchanging sly comments with the celebs and here we were – our throats aching from screaming their names, basically pleading for them to take a chance over the raised platform that was separating us from them. I even admit to starting a few chants like: “Cara Cara Cara”, “Margot Margot Margot” (and they were effective because the whole group joined in) but they were ultimately in vain. The chants caught their attention, they looked at us, they really did and their eyes did connect with our pleading ones but security had seen the ledge and adjudged that none of them would be allowed near our corner.

So I was very annoyed. Once you were positioned you weren’t allowed to change areas, because security. The people with me were one of the first to arrive yet we’d all been dealt the worst hand. EVERYONE else got a fair opportunity to take a selfie or have an autograph with a large number of stars. Everyone but us.  I felt awful (haha). But guess who came along? Yup. The Fresh Prince himself decided to be our hero. He looked at the ledge and at the small mass of people shouting his name and stepped over it like it was never there – then the screaming started.

I heard screeches, whoops, hollers and a lil’ ululation… that was all just from me by the way. Some of these were sounds I’d never made in my life! Now get this; I was and am a fan but I wouldn’t say I obsess or even think about Will on a monthly basis. But in that single moment I Lost. My. Mind. With all the shouting going on around me I joined in too. That’s when the realisation of the power of mass movement really hit me. Anyway the man stepped over the ledge, people went nuts and he started giving out his autograph. I was the wise guy that had neither pen nor paper and you’ll never guess what I said when he walked in front of me and looked me in the eye…

“Sign my face Will!”

I don’t know if you’ve seen that clip of Beyonce reacting with a look of shock when she’d looked down from the stage but Will shot me that same look. Surprise and maybe a little disgust? I don’t know he didn’t find it funny. It was unprompted from me, just a random  uncontrollable reaction but it was enough to spur him to move on. Those around me got their shirts and posters signed. I was also the first to ask for a selfie. The man noticed me again but elected to keep signing autographs. I think he really didn’t want to come into contact with people’s phones but he eventually gave in and guess what. He started taking selfies… but none with me.

I know… I know. Sad, right? But I actually wasn’t overly disappointed at the end of the day. It turned out to be one of those experiences that helped me cement the idea that celebrities may be awesome and all but the reverence we show them shouldn’t exist because underneath it all they’re just people like you and me. I mean sure, sing someone’s name and look up to them but don’t allow yourself to be obsessed with someone who couldn’t care less about knowing your name. I’m not saying this because that’s my opinion of Will Smith but this odd and kinda funny encounter helped me form this opinion and it’s one I’m sticking by.

I hope you enjoyed the read. Below is the link to the video one of the people that was there took. See if you can pick out which voice belongs to me:

Ugh… Men

Ugh… Men. Am I disgusted by them? You bet. Today I decided to walk to the mall rather than use the tube. The sun was out and the day looked too lovely not to stroll in. So I did. But men just had to ruin it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all men are crass. Just that I’ve come across more that are than aren’t. Do I come across people I find physically attractive as I walk down the street? Always. Do I holler at them and try to attract their attention? No. Do I have a particular form of dress/build that intrigues me? Yes. Do I use that as an excuse to ask for said person’s number? No. Listen, I’m not saying that everything that I do is right and everything I don’t do is wrong because that would be both ludicrous and false. What I’m saying is if I can let someone have a peaceful walk to wherever they are going without looking to attract their attention then so can anyone else, surely? Some men just don’t seem to get this at all.

“Hey pretty thing! Where are you going looking fine like that?”

How I hate that line. Does it matter to you where I’m going? If I looked any different would you be saying the same thing or would you be silent? Worse off would you call me out for not looking the way you want me to? Part of me feels that’s the case. Normally such a line doesn’t come in isolation. Normally this buffoon is flanked by more of his kind. For some reason he thinks he’ll earn respect from his peers if he can make me feel uncomfortable. If that is the case then these men are more appalling than I give them credit for. How do I answer? I don’t want to talk to him so I should ignore him, right? But that only spurs him on:

“Don’t be like that honey. Don’t you want a piece of this?” He proceeds to point at his *guns*

(Ugh… Idiot! Also when did we progress to affectionate names? You don’t even know me)

So the fool won’t be rejected by silence. He calls me names as I walk past simply because I chose to ignore him. He becomes even more roudy, his language becoming more coarse as it becomes increasingly evident that I don’t want anything to do with him. But this silent treatment is better than the alternative. If I had answered back his thirst would have only intensified. Giving him an avenue to continue speaking to me would only spur his insatiable lust. Lust for what exactly, respect? My body? In the best case scenario what does he even have to gain from this situation?

I walk on. Doing my best not to let this revulsion ruin my day… even as this happens again and again and again. The most miserable of groundhog days, orchestrated by men.

So this was my take on what I think women who get heckled go through on a daily basis. It obviously isn’t wholly accurate and is a bit brief so I’ll try to add more detail to it later on. I’ll continue tomorrow by talking about how I think ladies should be treated. Why is this worth writing about to me? Well these “men” aren’t what I aspire to be and especially not what I want my sister to ever encounter.