Is Anywhere Safe?

We Walk Different Roads

“Don’t you feel scared walking under that bridge? I never walk round there. For years, I’ve avoided walking under that bridge.”

The Sarah Everard case is a peculiar one for me – namely because it was so close to home. My parents grew up in South London. When the news broke out of her disappearance, they literally knew every road she could have walked down like the back of their hand – Battersea being my dad’s area – Clapham being my mum’s.

Weirdly enough, because of their roots in South London, I’ve always felt safer in South. I always felt a bit more aware, always felt as though I’m retracing roads they previously walked down. I’ve walked through Battersea with my dad, a memory lane, passing his primary school, the roads he hung out, and his old houses.

I never quite did the same with my mother until one point last year, she told me about a male friend that saved her life when a man approached her with a knife, pressed it against her back, and told her to not make a noise – just follow him. It was day time. It was a main road.

Coincidentally, a man she tells me she owes her life to, was just walking down the road. The opposite road. A familiar face. She took a chance and ran towards him. He became a life line she had to latch onto. For, at that point, what could be worst than standing there with a knife held against you? There was no risk assessment, no time to be overly rational. This was do or die.

She called out and when she reached him, she asked him to save her. He also took a chance and made a detour from his original path. His presence deterred the predator. He accompanied her home and made sure she arrived safely.

Relief. That’s what I felt as she told me. I’m sure she felt the same way. But my emotions were also mixed with anger.

Anger because of the sheer audacity and what ifs. What if that man wasn’t there? Where would we all be now? In the absence of chance and luck, my mere existence could have been extinguished along with my mother’s.

That’s the reality for women. Retracing the  same roads my father took, I had to acknowledge our roads differ from that of our male counter parts. The road she walked down is usually busy in Clapham Junction – I walk down it all the time. It was part of my commute when I lived in Battersea. It almost seems nonsensical to avoid it. But the road is now tainted with a feel of disgust and anger. Trauma does trickle down through generations.

Why Your Feminism Must Include All Races

Despite the Clapham Junction story above (which is in Battersea for you pretend-Londoners), another incident happened when another female family member lived in Clapham many moons ago. She spoke of a separate story, but this one has been etched in my memory and should be treated as a lesson for both racism and protection of all females. It may trigger females of all races – so I do warn in advance.

She had a friend, a white female friend, who she would walk home with. The girl was a bit more curious in respect of men, she would entertain conversations more – and that was fine. It didn’t negate her right to consent.

They would talk through a park in Clapham on their route home one day. The trees and grass would grow high there, leaving blind spots, but as long as you stayed on the path you would be alright. This was their usual route and they were always alright. That’s why they believed anyways.

Her friend would see a few guys in the distance and begin to talk to them.
“Don’t do it. Let’s just walk home.”
“It’s fine.”
The distance between them grew and grew, but she could still see her. Could still hear her voice softly in the distance. It started off calmly, but soon escalated.

Before she knew it, hands had reached for her friend and grabbed her into the bushes. The guys, who were once visible, soon followed.

Prompted by her friend’s screams she ran. Ran hard. Ran fast. She ran for help. There was no  way she would be able to stop a group of guys by herself, but maybe another male could help. Maybe he could ward them off.

The first person she saw, she grabbed and clung to.
He probably only needed to shout something to disperse the guys and save her, he probably didn’t even need to get in trouble, he probably didn’t even know what he did and the implications it would have.

“HELP. HELP MY FRIEND. SOME GUYS – PLEASE HELP. SHE IS OVER THERE.”

He looked at the black hands which held him and crumpled his suit. Repulsed, he brushed her off, looked her up and down.

“Don’t touch me with your hands.”

That was all he said, before setting off.

She could tell by his eyes, he had concluded it wasn’t his problem. It was a black problem. His pale face etched into her mind. But the irony was, her friend wasn’t black.

“It was as if I were dirty. Scum.” It wasn’t her first experience of racism, but this one cut deep.

She felt helpless, hurt and as though she had failed her friend. She couldn’t find anyone else for a little while after. A black man ran to help soon after, but it was too late.



“Do you think things would have been different if you told him your friend was white?” I would ask decades later.
“Probably but your mind doesn’t think to disclose that at the time. I never saw my friend’s race at that moment. Back then, people would be like – that’s an issue for the blacks. Not my problem.

… We could have saved her.”

A cruel twist of fate meant this innocent white girl would be faced with the unfair treatment that would have otherwise befallen an innocent black girl. What if she were black? Imagine the man in the suit representing society… it’s not his business.

I’m not sure if she was ever told the full story. Perhaps not. There were no winners here.

The man that walked home, with hatred in his heart probably would have remained none the wiser of how his omission led to multiple scars for multiple women. But he could do that,  because it didn’t affect him. He couldn’t relate. Without equal protection it invites predators. To protect women means ensuring the safety of all women, regardless of race. By assuming black women can look after themselves or be looked after by the black community alone means that they will only receive a small proportion of protection afforded to white women. This means many people will walk past situations they know aren’t right, with little playing on their conscience.

This is where the Karens could use their skill set of involving themselves in other people’s business for good 😂😂

You see stories on the internet of black parents searching desperately for their missing daughters. We don’t often make headlines.

Why I am Scared to Raise Sons

I often travel at night much to my parent’s disappointment. But only certain areas. Even then the fear does often seep through. Your walk feels like you’re evading landmines.

“I wouldn’t walk that route at night. Even as a man,” he said.
“Yes, but that’s not the point.” I would respond.
“But it kind of is.” He would maintain.
“Women should be able to walk around risk free, just like men.”
“I agree. I completely agree. But that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world with sick people. And what men are you referring to? Who is walking around at night?”

I was close to saying “But you could”.

Then I realised, he really couldn’t unless he was looking for potential trouble. Black male, walking around at night? How many murder cases have I heard of? Attacks? Stabbings. What about the friends that had passed? I acknowledged it. We were trapped in different cages, but in cages nevertheless. Of course, this is why he drives.

“You have to minimise your risks at all time. This is why I want to you to catch a cab where you can. There’s no point arguing something should be a certain way, and putting yourself in harm’s way to prove a point.”

Black men don’t have it easy. I know the wrong route in London can be absolutely disastrous. The need to be streetwise is equally as pressing. His methods have always resolved around his mantra of “prevention is better than cure”. In a world of victim blaming and extremities, there was a third way. Personally, sometimes I think our generation rushes into obtaining an array of emotional scars and traumas, for the sake of proving a point.

I say all this to say, unless you are in the fortunate position of being a white male, please just try to stay safe right now. Even if it isn’t right. This is the reality we live in.

Lockdown pt.2 – The Stupidity of It All

Sitting there red faced, as red as his tracksuit, coughing violently around the carriage. His face is sweaty, and the layers he wears are thin. The cold makes each breath visible. I start stepping back… trying to avoid the fog of his breath. Is this what they meant by being “vigilent”.

It is the 7:16am train. No socialising is happening here, we’re just on our way to save the economy. Not all heroes wear capes. I try not to stereotype, but I presume he works in construction.

The wheels fell off ages ago. The second lockdown practically means you cannot do anything except go to work. Meaning, these morning trains filled with individuals with peering noses and chronic coughs, bundled together, along with those who “comply” with the rules, will continue absolutely unhinged. But the times spent with people you like and know… are no more.

It would seem the pandemic cannot find you at work. You are safe with that group of strangers, safe with the strangers on the train.. it’s just the people you know that are the problem. Keep them safe – don’t see them.

And then there’s the fallibility of the testing. I have met two people who have tested positive, and have spent extensive amounts of time around others. Their immediate support bubbles have done tests and all have been found negative. How does this work? Just like the politicians… we don’t know.

For now, I guess we continue with anxiety. Anxious to see what will happen next. Anxious to think if i do get it- How? Who by? Anxious whilst looking at countries with such a heavy reliance on tourism they must accept British tourists, even though the UK R- Rate increases day by day.. why are UK borders even open? … anxious to see history repeat itself and the West spread illness yet again.

The stupidity of it all.

Hair

I have been humbled this year. 2020 has taught me a degree of humility I hope I never forget. It has also taught me sadness, loneliness and a love I will hold on to forever.

Black hair, with its kinks and coils, is naturally the definition of “humility” in the most beautiful sense. It doesn’t boast its secrets. It isn’t assuming. It doesn’t seek to intimidate others with its length, it doesn’t yield to the criticism and harsh eyes of others. Yes, it could unravel and fall to shoulders, it could frame faces, it could relax instead of binding itself… however it chooses not to. As it grows from our scalp, it doesn’t boast at all. It doesn’t wish to be desired. It puts more effort into holding itself a complete secret, only revealed when needed to. Because of this, its beauty can be found in all forms. It is us who place a burden on our hair. We place our value in its growth, length, colour, etc. It is we who ridicule others for an inability to grow tresses. It is we who criticise others for their hair styles. It is we who made the term “natural” equate to snobbery – it is no longer the humble route.

2020 really showed me that we are the problem. I am only writing this because I know there’s someone else out there who has experienced the same issues as I have. I hope they can find solace in this post.

This year, I recall asking: “Would you still like me if I lost all my hair?”
The response: “I’m not gonna lie to you, babe. Hair is something that is really important for me. Natural hair.

For this all to make sense, let’s go back. A decade will suffice.

Before my health began to waver – I hated bad hair days. Like… I really really hated bad hair days. Due to this, I consequently began to hate the person I became when I had bad hair days. I would scream, yell, cry, throw absolute tantrums. It was an ugly side of myself which I would see only when it came to my hair. My hair contributed to my depression and moods in ways I could not comprehend. My hair would grow quickly, it was relaxed, it was strong, it was looked after- but I still found ways to find my appearance hideous on certain days.

As a part of my self development, I decided it would be best to eradicate the problem. The solutions? Wear a head scarf. The rationale was simple but satisfying: I would stop comparing myself to others, I would stop feeling down about how I looked, I would also stop making others feel down based on how I looked. Anyone who knows me well, knows that wearing a head scarf for the rest of my life is/was one of my main goals. I know it shouldn’t be such a big statement to simply say I want to wrap my hair up whilst outside for the rest of my life, however I often joke about how I will be perceived by society with my friends (especially Muslim ones), and you realise how cruel society is. But that’s another matter entirely.

I wanted to do this in the latter years of my life because being in the Western workplace environment made it all so much harder. But one random summer’s day, 4 years ago, I had stopped relaxing my hair for the most part. One day, I noticed a black spot I had never seen before on my scalp. Calm down guys – it is not what you think. I went to the doctor’s and I was practically dismissed – the GP must have had a misconception about black hair and thought the thinning hair was normal. In any event, she told me she couldn’t see any patch of missing hair. I felt gaslighted and I also felt like she was indicating that I had wasted her time (subsequently I never returned). For the next few years I would slowly see more and more of the spot on my scalp in clear view. More and more people would also see it. I would stop going to the hairdressers, for fear of being judged. Thankfully the spot wasn’t increasing in size and my hair still had length; but the clearing was increasing. It was only a matter of time.

In 2020, I had begun to calculate how much time I would have left until I would have to shave my hair off. I concluded with good hair maintenance, that 2022 would be it. The one patch had turned into three. Something was seriously wrong with my health, but the mixture of being black and COVID-19 meant a) no one would take my medical concerns seriously, and b) there wasn’t even anywhere to take my medical concerns. Cue the crippling depression.

I would always talk passionately about self love, but I was so scared of loving myself without hair. I had begun to coin myself as unlovable. I cried so much. Most importantly, I couldn’t pinpoint what was causing the hair loss. It felt like I was holding a timebomb. What also annoyed me was some people’s unsolicited comments. During what was probably the most stressful time of self discovery for me, I was being told which hairstyles people preferred on me, why I should stay natural, why I should blah blah blah. I didn’t care. I didn’t have the luxury to think about such things. Something was wrong.

I grew distant in my love life as well. I would sit, and zone out. I was becoming more sensitive to blasé statements. Something as simple as: “I prefer your hair like this…” would trigger me.
What if I couldn’t offer that hairstyle in the next 2 years? What then? I felt like I was writing a will. Losing my hair had inadvertently become like losing a life line. It had become a joke. My worth had become so entangled with my locks that I had begun to spiral and my health was deteriorating more and more. I was trying to focus on work more, focus on the dissertation. Focus on anything but this.

I had to take a step back. Take stock. Remember who I was. What I was trying to achieve. If you were really serious about this, you would just roll with the punches. You had tried for years to disassociate your self worth from your hair. Now the universe had begun to humble you. Your hair was always humble. It represented humility. It was you who had created a persona for it. It was you who heralded others with long, full thick hair. I grow very long nails, but it is rare I waltz around claiming worth through my nails. This was all wrong. I was crippling myself. With this new mentality, I gave it all a final shot.

I made a major adjustment to my life (I will write about this at some other point in time) and slowly, small shoots of hair started to come back. Slowly…

Who knows what the future holds. Maybe I will never have the hair I used to have. My body was desperately asking me for help for years. Maybe this is all temporary. But I am learning to shift my self worth and learn there are so many more things to love about myself. If my hair comes back in full, I will love it in silence in a way that stays true to its character. If not – I will love the new me. At the end of the day, this harsh reality of 2020 has taught me that I will never be “unlovable”.

I Really Want to Write

It’s been so long – I just want to write.

I thought once I finished my Masters, I would have ample amounts of free time, and would be penning ideas almost every week. Instead I have barely strung together a couple of sentences.

I rarely update my blog, nor do I write in my diary. It’s not that I have nothing to write about… I just struggle to find the time.

I wanted to set myself a challenge, but I just knew I wouldn’t follow through. Furthermore, I don’t want writing to become a chore. I love the freedom of it all – but to treat it like a day job would not only hinder my creativity, but it would make me wince at the mere thought.

The reality is, I am so tired and I barely get time to myself these days. I took today off from work, and the first thing I did was turn on my work laptop. I am also trying to navigate my health and well being, and the combination of it all has become a heavy burden. Writing just has not found its place yet.

With that being said, there are so many things I want to write about. Especially in respect of modern culture, so many things are happening in respect of race, gender, religion… so many things are changing. I have often been asked for my opinions on certain things on an individual basis – but perhaps it is best I just write about them in one place. There are a few posts below which I want you all to look out for:

1) Race
This will be a three part series consisting of the following:
– Why Racism is Not My Issue
– Race and Health
– Successful Change
2) From Race and Health there will be another post on Religion – this one will be a bit weird so bare with me. As a self proclaimed atheist, a lot of things have happened as of late, and I have started reviewing my beliefs (as all theists and atheists should do naturally). I understand most theist deem it blasphemy to question/evaluate their faith, but I think it’s healthy to do so. Failure to do so means you have zero conviction in your own beliefs. I’m not saying I now believe in a God and what have you, but… just… wait for the post.
3) Lastly, I wanted to write about some positive stuff. Such as Friendship, Relationships, Events, and all of that cute stuff.

Some of these will be quite personal, others will be on an objective level. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

2020 is the year to mark the end and the beginning of so many things. It has a weird “Noah’s Ark” type feeling to it all – the duplicity theme throughout the year – the destruction – the feeling of having to rebuild. When lockdown rules eased it felt like stepping into a dystopian future.

I started this year with a bucket list, and I have had to almost start the whole list over. All the experiences I thought I would have are gone. But so many new things are coming through. Nicest thing is I have now found the best people to do these things with. That’s probably why 2020 has not completely failed me yet.

Out of Lockdown + Self Love

Lockdown ended for me about a month or two ago.

It was pretty sudden. We were asked to return to work and that was that. For the first week, I dabbled with taking Ubers. Then slowly started taking public transport. The trains were mostly empty which made it a bit easier to adjust to.

Government guidance slowly caught up to the real world and face masks became “compulsory” for commuters. What they really meant was that you were to enter the station with a mask on your face, probably take it off throughout the whole commute, and then put it back on at the end of the journey, where TFL staff and the police stand awaiting our arrival. Every morning I watch groups of men and women intermittently commit to the face mask cause. Probably wearing the mask for 5 minutes out of their 40 minute journey. Completely floating the rules.

But I’m not a social justice warrior. I’m not about to lecture people on what they should and should not be doing. After seeing the hordes of people on the beach during the peak of the pandemic – I’m quite over it. And it would seem the British people are quite over it too.

In other news, I had a big wake call the other day.

It’s funny because I’ve slowly started to appreciate myself more and more over 2020. It sounds bizarre, and it implies I never appreciated myself beforehand. But the truth is, I probably never did. I thought I was being humble, but through that approach I never showed myself the love I deserved.

I never understood when people (especially guys) would clearly highlight to me that my biggest flaw was that I never believed in my own worth- and how I was worth so much more. “So much more – you just never ask for it – at work, in love, in life”. This willingness to just “get on” with life worked and so, I lived my life that way.

I took a big chance this year, and I thought I’d mentally dissipate. I thought I’d snap and possibly never return. In July, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I have learnt to love myself in my purest form. I recognise the weakness, and how I can manage it. I also understand more than ever before the importance of who you let into your life and circle. We’re all fragile beings, and not everyone has pure intentions. While my heart always tries to see the good in people, I think self love really teaches you to prioritise and protect yourself. 

In more recent times, I have grown to really love the person I am. From that I’ve been pretty stress free and happy. It’s through this self discovery and self love that I realised how much beauty is within the me I’m protecting. This girl with the bright smile, the complex-yet-ever-so-simplistic mind, the constant growth and intention to purify my heart with every day that passes… The career path I have chosen, the success I’ve garnered so far. Whilst remembering my humility of course, I have realised I have no need to compromise. I deserve whatever I ask for.

I know what I like, I know what I don’t like – I don’t need to take anything from the latter and I sure as hell don’t have to accept mediocre. From tragedy, I was able to mix my emotion with my discernment.

In short, I understand more and more how my self love will dictate the love I receive. I trust the future me, with this knowledge in mind, to make the best decisions for me, because she loves me dearly…

Day 39 – What Level of Commitment-Phobe Are You?

[Them]: “Yeah I have commitment issues, this is why I am rarely ever in a relationship.
Me: “Ah nah. That’s not really my issue. I’m more like ‘I don’t like committing to a plan 2 weeks in advance‘ and I can’t eat layered foods… that kinda commitment issue.”

One of the defining pinnacles of my commitment issues is my inability to eat lasagne. Bizarre I know. In fact – I usually have a degree of disdain for all layered foods (except cake) and would never actively order or make any dish of that nature. Allow me to explain: Think of a slice of lasagne. Then think of how you will eat it. You will cut into a part, an equal proportion of each layer, an equal proportion of each flavour, chew and then swallow. You then repeat this process again and again until you have finished. But assess how you couldn’t alter your ratios within each bite – you couldn’t add more sauce with that second bite and the taste of each layer individually isn’t particularly satisfying. From that first mouthful, nothing changed. You had to commit to that first flavour and accept that was the only flavour you would experience throughout the whole dish. Each layer relies on the other, and because of that, you are forced to eat every layer, with every bite. You were robbed of your freedom.

I think there’s two types of people who struggle with commitment. The first are those who struggle with loyalty. The second, struggle with the concept of lack of freedom and choice. I am the second person. I hate the feeling of having my wings clipped. I like adventure, excitement and fun. I like the idea of the unknown because it gives room for more dreams and new plans. My Sagittarius spirit craves more.

Our generation really takes pride in struggling with commitment. As if telling someone you struggle to commit is a disclaimer for the broken person they’re about to waste their time with. Fortunately for me, my problem isn’t that I can’t commit to things, it’s just that I like the beauty of freedom, and I will often commit to plans begrudgingly.

Perhaps I’m maturing, but I was discussing my commitment issues with my dad yesterday, and I really reached a realisation:

You know what I’m realising… Life is like lasagne. You wake up, you go to bed, there’s so many constants and routine that you have to accept. These constants come with the whole package – they are neither bad nor good. That’s just life- its the basics. You can’t avoid that level of commitment. What you can do, is choose how you dress those parts of your life up. In life, that could be surrounding yourself with people you enjoy, going to IKEA to buy a table with the love of your life, finding things you want to do, finding the ways that make the commitment of the inevitable more palatable.”
He nodded and smiled. “That’s all life’s about.”

This year, I had lasagne and I partially enjoyed it. I placed blobs of Encona hot sauce in random places, alternating tastes. Sometimes you can’t avoid commitment, but if you think of ways to make it fun and mix things you like into the equation, then you can find beauty in the adventure and creativity of it all.

Day 30: 5 Things To Do During Lockdown

I can’t be bored… because I’m not boring

Despite my spreadsheet driven career, I’m a creative at heart so I can spend hours doing things I enjoy, such as: listening to music and arranging playlists for others, taking photos, drawing, painting, writing, coding websites, the list goes on. I have tried and enjoyed so many different things…

In short, in my own company I have found multiple ways to occupy myself and my mind. It starts with the mantra: “I’m not bored, because I’m not boring”. I think firstly, it is very important to adopt this mentality. I fight the urge to nonchalantly utter the words: “I’m bored”. It becomes a habit. A self fulfilling prophecy. Fight it.

Realisation that the times I have been bored have been whilst being surrounded by others. By myself, I always have something to do. I can find something to do.

Below is a list of 5 things I have found to pass my time during this current lockdown, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and want to share:

1. TV Shows & Films

I guess this one is bait… but really, I have found time to watch TV Shows again! I don’t really watch shows any more, which is crazy because I used to binge so many when I was younger. I still have many shows I started in earlier years to finish, and so many new shows I have overlooked.

I have rewatched films such as Predestination (8/10), Exam (6.5/10), Epic (6/10) and The East (6.5/10). I have gotten into Ozark (8/10), Umbrella Academy (7/10), and Light as a Feather (6.5/10). I started Bojack Horseman a few weeks ago, and need to finish it up… I need to finish the later seasons of Stranger Things…

I am also watching anime. An anime adaptation of manga I used to read called Dorohedoro is actually really good so far.

Lastly, I want to watch Upgrade (2018) and Umbrella Academy Season Two is soon coming out…

2. Yoga

I have started yoga. There is this really cool app called Down Dog which is free until 1st May 2020 (I believe). Definitely check it out. I was amazed at how much my body needed the yoga, and it has really resonated with me. I hope this is a hobby I keep up after the lockdown.

There are all sorts of apps though by the same creators, but the Down Dog one is absolutely amazing. You get to set the difficulty, the type of yoga session, the type of music, the voice of the instructor, which areas you want to focus on, etc. There are SO many options you simply cannot get bored and you want to try them all out.

It is also amazing how much your own body, with no strenuous action can really ache! I am using muscles I don’t think I have ever used and my body is so thankful for it. I feel so much lighter.

3. Cooking Challenges

Since things aren’t as readily available, I have started picking up random items I rarely eat (or haven’t eaten before) and trying to incorporate it into my dishes. First it was suede. I made fritters which turned out lovely!

Here’s some dishes I have tried:

  • Onion & Suede Fritters
  • Shrimp, Plantain, etc. With baked broccoli and parsnip – It was after this dish I realised I really liked roasted parsnip.
  • Chorizo and Tomato Lentils with Poached Eggs
  • Black bean & meat stew – feijoada
  • Chicken Soup (a lot of chicken soup to be honest) – but I have been adding quinoa

And a lot more…

Tomorrow I am going to be making pork with black beans again but in a more Asian style, with egg noodles. My dad purchased the black beans in error instead of kidney beans – but in quarantine you don’t waste food! All of the food mishaps create fun opportunities to test your cooking skills!

I find two ingredients and I start playing around with things I have seen and ideas. It’s really fun!

4. Writing! 

I love writing. Well I don’t like writing my essays, but I love writing abstract things.

I have started blogging again (obviously) and playing with the idea of writing prose again.

Lockdown is like the time all your childhood dreams can be realised. I remember around the age of 9, my only dream was to write.

I wanted to sew words together and create the finest tapestry, beautiful and complex. Or perhaps something more familiar, like a piece of patchwork. Either way, I wanted to write something that transcended time.

I grew up. I stopped writing.

… which leads me onto 5… 

5. Do something you loved whilst you were younger

I guess growing up as an only child meant I had to learn how to kill time by myself. I’d play the Sims, play video games, code and design websites, draw… all those miscellaneous things I mentioned in the intro of this. I wasn’t allowed out to play much so I really learnt how to communicate with friends via MSN, etc.

I think the easiest past time is doing those things you enjoyed in that simpler time all over again. If you’re really stuck, learn how to make things you loved.

You like comics? Try drawing!
You liked TV? Try writing a script! Try filming!
You like music? Try learning how to play an instrument!

Heck – I have two acoustic guitars which I never mastered playing! … That might be next on the list…!

Just enjoy and stay safe.

Day 30: Lockdown Lesson One – Finding Happiness

One really good lesson I’ve learnt during this lockdown is to surround myself with things that make me happy.

My usual coping mechanism is usually distraction and if that doesn’t work… then I approach the situation head on. Sometimes it’s successful, but other times it is… not.

I’d say my life comprises of 4 main elements. I pay more attention to one, in the event that another doesn’t work out:

1) Family,
2) Friends,
3) Love,
4) Work.

I’ll give one example. My grandma passed a few years ago. Absolutely heartbreaking situation and I have never cried so much in my life… (-1 point Family)

I then got back with my (now) ex a few months later. (+1 Love)

I then broke up with my ex, about a year later. (-1 Love)

Focused on work and got a pay rise. (+1 Work)

When one doesn’t work out, I tend to focus on another category. Meaning my life is usually in some weird unbalanced workable state; however the carefully crafted pluses and minuses mean it’s never too unbearable. The problem with this coping mechanism means that you can never be happy with all 4 elements at the same time. You move onto another category to compensate for the last. Desperately try to make each one work, and then when you have a setback, you have to find solace elsewhere.

It often also means minimal lessons are learnt. In fact, success is found in failure (which is fine), but no lessons are learnt. I have found love from loss, success from heartbreak, but there’s no correlation between the categories.

I’ll ponder situations, feel down and cry, but I’m always content in one other category to enable enough distraction. Then the failing part of my life can be numbed and slowly forgotten.

Lockdown doesn’t work like that. There are no distractions. None. And for the first time, in a very long time, I’ve had to stop running and start assessing issues in further depth. “What’s making you sad?”

It has probably been the growth I needed in all honesty. 2020 is the year of ending cycles, and protecting one’s inner peace falls right into this. I know it’s the best move if I’m to protect any form of sanity within lockdown.

More recently, I found myself feeling really annoyed with situations. “Pre-lockdown Me” would wait for the fall and then react by focusing wholly on something else. True Sagittarius style. “Lockdown Me” was constantly surrounded by the situation. I could either approach it and flip out, emotions heightened due to the lockdown… or I could simply and calmly remove the issue from my life. I wasn’t disengaging from the category in my life, but rather the elements within it that made me unhappy.

It actually gave me so much peace. I wasn’t continuously rattled. I wasn’t waiting to be let down. It was no longer a ‘coping mechanism’ or something reactive. It was a way of life.

If I don’t like something, I can just remove it from my category, rather than removing myself. If I feel sad about something, I can feel sad. If I want to be happy about something, I don’t have to worry something else in my life will fall apart. I don’t need to leave one behind and focus on another to obtain happiness; I can pinpoint the issue within the category and either address it, or disengage.

Just like this, I may just be able to be happy on all aspects of my life.

From this realisation… I found I was finally in control and I loved it.

Day 7 – Isolation – HouseParty App – Plans

“So much I don’t wanna know about the shit you do, 
but here it comes, 
hoppin’ in my lap like baby powder scented stripper.”

Denouement – TiRon & Ayomari, ft. Dream Hampton

 

Friday 27th March 2020 marked the 7th day of my isolation. It also marked day something-or-another of my annual leave. The days had begun to merge into one. It has become seemingly apparent that it is hard to “annual leave” whilst you are in self-isolation. You are now working from home, but you’re also holidaying from home, commuting at home, sleeping at home. Everything is “home, home, home”. No variance. Just you… the house… and the other occupants.

8am I received a call to help out at work. Coronavirus has completely eradicated any of the possible excuses I have to be “busy”. (Everyone is social distancing so you will be judged if you actually make plans to go out, but telling someone you planned the day in your living room just doesn’t quite sound like a valid reason to not be available. Someone said that they had used the diarrhoea excuse recently to shirk responsibilities). I hate the fact that this pandemic has meant I am readily available all the time; however I am happy that I have enough to do at work and at home to keep me busy on both fronts. Nothing has slowed down, I just have more time.

I had to re-download HouseParty because I promised some people I’d be on there later on in the evening. Honestly, I can feel that app disturbing my peace and I think I need to stay away from it as much as possible.

I (for one) know that I am a very jealous person. I think it’s best to acknowledge that all human beings have the propensity to be jealous in some shape or form. I have met myself enough times to know this. Initially I tried to address it, trying to understand “why” I felt that way, “how” I can overcome it, etc. In the end I had to acknowledge this is just how I operate. There is no “on/off” switch for it – I just have to put myself in positions where I avoid tinges of jealousy.

Let me clarify though. My “jealousy” isn’t like resenting a friend for an accomplishment, or a work colleague for a promotion, or someone getting nice things. There’s enough of those things around for everyone, and honestly, I don’t covet material things which are not mine. Regardless of this, I tend to feel jealous of social interactions at times. That feeling of being left out.

At the same time, I have hated being bait so sometimes (actually no – a lot of the time) I actively avoid social interaction. I have hated people knowing who I am. I hate the fact that you cannot “unmeet” people. It is so easy to garner attention, but it is almost impossible to start anew. You only really get one shot. This app facilitates meeting multiple people at any given time. I mean that’s fine, but it just feels like a sure-fire way to be found, to be known, to be bait. I don’t want to be found or known. I want to appear in rare occasions and be a novelty… I don’t need hordes of associates, I have my friends.

Back to the jealousy thing. I realised that the app was updating me on other people’s actions in real time and it was not what I needed to see. I didn’t need to know who was in a “locked room”, I did not need to know who you were talking to… I did not need to see any of these things. In real life, you would never know who is doing what. It would not affect you. You would live on with these interactions unbeknownst to others. It almost made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough.

I feel like the universe takes away so much from us as humans. The little it does give is carefully placed to not break the balance. For example, you have a shit day at work, you get annoyed with your commute, you see a friend and spending time with them cheers you up. That’s it. That’s all. The bad is outweighed by the little good and your balance is maintained. During that interaction, you don’t really want to know your friend’s thoughts. You don’t want to know they’re not actually interested in your stories of woe, and are checking out the person behind you. You just want to live in the reality you have been given. This is why we are not telepathic creatures. We couldn’t handle the information and the pressure it brings.

A part of it seems like people are utilising the app to flaunt their social lives. “I’m in a full room”, “Guess who I am talking to?” I understand using the games, but if one is having a conversation with another person, wouldn’t Whatsapp suffice? Why do we all need to know this interaction is happening?

Social media really is a place for shaking tail feathers, and in the silence of boastful Instagram posts during this lockdown, showing everyone you have friends is now the new flex. Quite frankly, I don’t have the heart for it and cannot risk disturbing my inner peace.

We have a few more weeks to go. Let’s start this off right.