Learning to breathe

Archive for the tag “relationships”

On Giving Twitter Up

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When I shut my Twitter account down on Tuesday, I remember thinking to myself: “My life is over”

And it was for me. Sometimes it still feels like it is. It’s been five days now and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more disconnected from the rest of the world than I do now. However, guilt for spending hours just poring through my timeline no longer plagues me and feelings of irrelevance and inadequacy no longer torture me when I don’t get new mentions, retweets or favorites. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but I think if Twitterverse does not revolve around me then it should not exist…at least not to me. Now that right there is the thought train that sets me up for disappointment.

Not many people know that my Twitter was shut down and those that do don’t see the sense in it. Heck, sometimes I don’t see the sense in it. I think a lot of things set the stage for this deactivating and shutting down business. First, the guilt for spending so much time online, then this post I read on Kelly Minter’s blog, then this post I read on Living Proof Ministries’ blog, then finally this post on The Verge. By the time you’ve read all those posts you’ll probably want to shut your Twitter down too, spend less time on it or like Paul Miller leave the internet. I’m not in any way saying that Twitter is a bad “place”. I’m saying that Twitter is pretty much a reflection of real life. Sometimes it’s distorted and sometimes it’s accurate. I’m saying that there are some people I have met in real life through Twitter that I wish I had never met and there are those that I wouldn’t trade meeting them for anything in this world. Or the next. I’m saying that Twitter gives people the chance to be what they never got to be in real life: popular, witty, “loved”, and adequate and gives them an illusion of security or a pedestal to showcase their insecurity. Twitter allows you to judge a book by its cover or by its bio. Twitter gives you shrinks, doctors, relationship experts, buddies for what looks like free. All you really have to do is give up your real life for it. Twitter says “Have entertainment and a fun virtual life in exchange for entertainment and fun real life”

Maybe I have a serious case of lack of self-control here and I just don’t know how to balance real life with virtual life. Maybe I have more problems being present to the things that are happening around me in real life and I’m more alive to the things happening in my phone or my computer. I never want to miss a thing in Twitterville so that when I get with my real life friends we can talk about Twitter and ignore the things that are wrong with us in real life. More than half my conversations are punctuated with “Were you online when…” or “Did you see what Blah retweeted?” or “Why did you tweet this?” and I begin to address people by their Twitter handles instead of their first names. And my level of respect for you is directly proportional to the number of followers you have on Twitter or how many times your depth (or lack of it) gets retweeted into my timeline. And I’d rather have you mention me than have you call me or I’d rather mention you than call you. Looking at it objectively, most of my existence for the last, what, 6 months has been poured into knowing the latest Twitter gist instead of knowing what’s going on with my friends, tweeting to complete strangers about my father instead of calling him up and asking how life is with him, looking out for interesting or witty stuff just so I can tweet about it. It makes me wonder if any of it is really worth it.

At this moment, I don’t know for sure that I want to delete my Twitter permanently…mostly because I’m scared that I will no longer be relevant than because I don’t want my followers to think that I’m dead. For now, I want to explore real life. I want to find a new coping mechanism, a new stress reliever, a new hobby. I like to try new stuff and maybe this is just a phase for me like Facebook was. But I want to bake cakes with my Aunt Tolu and know what’s going on in her life, I want Kiki to sniff my nail polish, like me and not bark at me so much, I want to have my mind in the room when my dad is talking to me, I want to be actively involved in conversations I have with Peju, Seun, Tobi, Seyi, Dunni, Femi and Dare, I want to experience the good stuff for myself no longer so I can tweet about it. Maybe some moments are meant to be treasured for me and me alone. And maybe some pictures are meant to be taken by me and for me alone not for some three hundred people that will never really know more about me than the fact that I talk too much, like red lipsticks and short boyish hair. Again I’m not saying that Twitter is a bad place and you should pack up, shut your Twitter down and follow me to the Promised Land. I’m saying: live-really live– your real life. Sammy says I might lose friends and contact with people that really care about me so if you’re one of them you can mail me zoe_akin@live.com. I’m not turning into a hermit. I still post journal entries twice a week, I still laugh till I start to cry and my tummy hurts, I’m still in coffee rehab, I still post stories, poems and random stuff here on Learning to Breathe, I still read people’s blog posts, I still work at Aphroden, I still meet up with a bunch of guys Thursday evenings for Bible study, I still swim and I still like Rihanna’s hair. Oh and sadly, I still use a Blackberry.

Unfortunately, no one is paying me to stay off Twitter and blog about my new experiment (I would have liked that). I just want to explore this side of life so that if I ever decide to come back to Twitter, I can use it and not have it use me. In Jon Foreman’s words, I’m somewhere between who I am and who I could be, between how it is and how it should be.

Photo credit: http://www.arts.vcu.edu

Learning to Breathe Better

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It hasn’t exactly been a year since I started learning to breathe. I started learning to breathe on the 12th of January, 2011 and I’ve been sharing m breathing techniques on my WordPress since then. I believe that you can never stop learning to breathe, you can only get better at it. So yes, I’m still learning. 2012 has been a pretty eventful year for me…somethings I’d like to forget quickly, somethings I’ll cherish all the days of my life. I met new friends and I lost some. I’ve been the insecure girl at work and I’ve been the picture of security. I’ve had emotional roller-coaster rides that have been anything but enjoyable. Been tossed here and there by emotional tides. Now that I look back on all of it, I can smile. I can smile because I tasted a wealth of emotions this year.

Spiritually, I’ve become wiser, maybe even stronger. And I find it amazing how God calls my kind to be “the light of the world” and “a city on a hill” when all I want to do is crawl back into the pit that He picked me from. The pit is comfortable. The pit is all I’ve known. The pit is was home. Time and time again, He comes for me, picks me up again and sets me on a hill for all to see. I’m not sure I love the attention all the time, I would rather go back down to the pit sometimes and feel sorry for myself. Often He tells me that my flaws, imperfections, insecurities, brokenness is exactly what He needs. If I was flawless, perfect, secure, sturdy…I’m afraid He would have no need of me. And I would have no need for Him. If there’s nothing I know about myself, I know that I am needy and I love to feel needed. I think of that and I get out of my pit willingly.

At home, I won’t say that everything has been dandy. That would be a lie. If there is a perfect home in this world, it definitely isn’t mine. I love my father with every fibre of my being. I know that he has made mistakes, I acknowledge the fact that he has many flaws and has made decisions he will regret all his life. I just want to make regretting easier for him. It’s the least that I could do. My siblings and I share a name and a home but I can’t say that we live for each other. We are so used to giving each other left over loving, I’m not sure what it would feel like to give them the main dish. What if they don’t even want the main dish? My stepmother on the other hand is an enigma to me. Sometimes, I think it’s possible for me to love her and other times, I wake up to the cold reality that it will be difficult and it will take flesh out of me. I’m pretty selfish. I don’t want anything taken out of me. I want it dropped in my lap. I lie to myself that I don’t have much of me to give to anybody and I know deep inside that there’s so much to give, so much to pour out and I’m afraid that is what keeps me up at night. I don’t know how to give and through 2012, I wasn’t ready to learn. I just wanted to breathe.

As for school, I’ve had moments when I just sit down and cry. I ask myself more often than I really want to: “What are you doing here?”

What are you doing here?!

I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing handling violins, pianos and a lazy soprano voice. I don’t know what I’m doing writing MUSON theory exams. I don’t know what I’m doing reading sheet music. I don’t know if I want to go to Royal College of Music when I finish university. So I’ll just focus on breathing for now. I’ll breathe deeply when the music notes become blurry and the tears threaten to spill, I’ll breathe confidently when my mouth opens and timid soprano pours. I’ll breathe, surely, when I bow my violin in front of an unfriendly looking panel. I’ll breathe.

As for relationships, I’ll take a break. I can’t make wise decisions when I keep hopping from one relationship to the other. I’ll  lose my breath and some of my sanity, some of myself. I’ll lose. I lose because I don’t know what to give and I don’t know what to keep. That way, I end up giving what I should keep and keeping what I should give. So I’ll just stop and breathe.

Breathe.

This is my last post on this blog. Still unsure if I should delete it or just leave it dormant. Don’t ask why, I don’t have the answer. I can tell you confidently though, that breathing is the best thing that could happen to us humans. Just breathe. Breathe deeply, thoughtfully, reverently. Breathe as you are.

And let your heart find rest in Him…

A Heart That Can Break

Melting, flaring, weeping, dying
One of the best things in life is feeling
Feeling the loss of a friendship
Feeling the loss of a relationship
And the beginning of one
Feeling sympathy for the old man repairing shoes down the street
In the heat of the sun
In the light of day
Feeling my heart swell for the newborn fingers that grip my thumb ever so gently
Feeling, and possibly smelling,
But most likely feeling the fragrance of body wash
As it mingles with steam in my nose
Feeling the hurt that flies out of your mouth when you’re angry
Feeling my heart swell with assurance of unfailing love, protection and attention

Simply feeling

I want a heart that can break
I want tears that I can make
I want laughter that I don’t have to fake
I want to feel everything and anything
I want all the emotions there are to take
For I fear that if I cannot feel
I’ll start dying slowly and surely
Pain, pleasure, awe, love, ate, courage, fear

I want it
And I embrace it with the near blindness of the old man down the street with cataracts

Think of Me

“She is such a snob” 

 

“abi”

 

“Because she has money now nobody will hear word again”

 

“<em>I tire o!</em>”

 

“But which one is you people’s business now?”

 

“<em>abeg!</em> Comfort of the afflicted, just shift to one side if you know you are going to support her”

 

“I’m already going <em>sef</em>.<em>Nawa</em> for you people.” 

 

“Nawa for you too.” 

 

 

            ——————-

 

Deola is such an amazing colleague. She always has a kind word to say. I wish I could be like her anytime my husband has something silly to say but hurtful words always find their way to my lips and in return they claim a well aimed blow as their prize.

 

Deola tells me to be patient with him but she has no idea. After all, she has never been married. 

 

She can’t understand.

 

Yet as she squeezes my hand in hers, all I feel is understanding. 

 

Comforting reassurance.

 

“You’ll be fine.” She tells me.

 

 

            ——————–

 

I can’t understand what Deola is so afraid of. Sometimes, I think if I go on one knee to propose to her she will have a cardiac arrest. Can’t she see that I love her? That I want to spend the rest of my life with her? Isn’t it obvious? 

 

We will have yet another long argument about us this evening when we meet up for dinner. She has to listen to me. If not, there’s not point carrying on with a relationship that will not lead to having a certain Mrs Kuye. 

 

I love her but if she doesn’t agree to marry me, she does not love me. 

 

 

           ——————–

 

There’s something about this woman that comes to the pharmacy every now and then. Always during my shift. I think Tunde has an eye for her because he always wants to attend to her when she comes. 

 

I could honestly say that I am jealous of her. She does look like she has it all together. She wears the nicest weaves, she’s tall, beautiful, has a nice car. What more could she want?

 

Yet, she buys the oddest things.

 

Anti-depressants, sleeping pills, painkillers and bath gel. Aren’t those for people with problems? People like me? 

 

What on earth could she need them for? 

 

 

            ——————–

 

These people don’t know me. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know what I’ve been through. They don’t know what I’m about. 

My Biggest Fear

Everybody is afraid of something, or afraid something will happen, or afraid something wont happen. Most of the time, that ‘something’ isn’t even singular. It’s plural. I won’t call it a phobia because the fear has varying degrees in each and everyone of us. It makes a substantial amount of people neurotic and pulls on the seams of sanity for others (which is pretty much the same thing). For a handful, it bothers them once in awhile.
But no one can deny it’s there. Like a fly that won’t go away.

So, my biggest fear is…becoming a hypocrite.

Nah, it’s not that I will get unceremoniously dumped or that I won’t find anymore Fanta in the fridge or that Jon Foreman will die not knowing I exist. No. That’s no it.
That one word, ‘hypocrite’ has the power to cut through my heart and send it to the pits of depression.
That fear has driven me to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning to jog and communicate with God. It has driven me to bow my violin even when all I wanted to do was smash it. It has driven me to church every Sunday morning and Thursday evening even and especially when I felt I was sticking out like a sore thumb.

It. Has. Driven. Me.

Not to say that the things it has driven me to do are bad. Quite the opposite. But it has such a hold on me I can’t breathe.

It gave me a headache just thinking about it but I’m determined not to stay in this cage that I’m in.

So when my biggest fear comes to pass and the word “hypocrite” is spat in my face. I can smile knowing that I have kept my mouth in check and practised only what I preached.

What are your biggest fears?

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