Don’t Pressure Me

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Fifteen matter-of-fact responses to everyday duress:

1. Like you, I wake up too early and go to bed too late.

2. I forget things. I’m human.

3. Sometimes, my bank account is empty. But because clean, wrinkle-free clothes are the perfect diversion, you may never know.

4. I haven’t eaten either, but I’m not acting crazy. Your hunger is not a tenable excuse to mistreat me.

5. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing here. Shouting won’t make it clearer.

6. I’m not your maid, your driver or the office messenger. Are you sure you know what you employed me to do?

7. I’m sick means I’m sick. Leave it alone or hire a private investigator, your choice.

8. “When I was your age…” Stop, please. I don’t need to know.

9. Haven’t you ever slept through an alarm?

10. I’m in my lane, moving at my pace. You’re free to overtake me.

11. I heard the news too, but no, I don’t care.

12. It’s not my wedding. I’m not buying the aso ebi. I don’t wear traditional caps.

13. It’s my birthday, not a charity event. I’m not buying anyone food.

14. I can afford it, I’m just not buying.

15. I’m not ready. Wait or walk away.

See Finish: How Familiarity Kills Lovely Things

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If you forget that I’m a miracle, how will I excite? And if you become ordinary in my eyes, how will you delight?

By nature, a relationship demands (some kind of) exposure to be. It requires a baring of souls and lives for the ones involved to learn about each other, grow into each other and become comfortable.

But with exposure comes familiarity, and familiarity breeds contempt.

Or complacency, that unfortunate dust that settles on things left to settle; like a house kept shut and without the benefit of sunlight for so long that the treasures within begin to tarnish.

We become fixtures in each other’s lives and then we begin to forget:

1. The thrill of exploring a whole new world living and breathing in another person.

2. How we went from uncertainty to certainty about this person, and the joy that came with that knowing.

3. The simple pleasures of holding hands, wordless conversations, eating together and seeing each other after a long day apart.

4. The love of God expressed in Him, by His grace, giving us a co-burden bearer and a partner to face down life with.

5. Presence, that all-important thing that transcends being physically present.

Our phones begin to find their way out of our pockets when there are lulls in conversations, nimble fingers flying across screens as we swipe and tap our significant other into irrelevance.

“Sorry, what were you saying?”

Then they start living on the table, close enough to start a war.

They glow and beep and vibrate in plain sight, as if reminding us with a cold smugness that no human is truly indispensable, while precious things recede into the background.

The things created to bring us closer start us on paths that lead us apart.

Life away from this life we’re supposed to be building and enjoying together slowly becomes more urgent and notifications from strangers make the heart beat faster than the loving gaze of the people who know us well.

We arrive at see finish and the road is all downhill from there.

Affection will rust and lovely things will decay unless we stop:

1. Acting like we can swap people with things, or even people with other people, whenever we please.

2. Undervaluing moments just because we’ve had ‘too many’ of them.

3. Settling into the ‘old married couple’ life after two weeks of dating. We don’t know each other that well yet.

4. Needing our phones more than we need each other.

5. Treating one another like stopgaps while we eagerly await the big thing.

6. Leaving our patch of grass to die while we stare longingly at the seemingly greener patch on the other side of the fence. Grab that watering can.

7. Forgetting to bear in mind how precious God’s human gifts are, and refusing to thank the Giver by treating them with high regard.

It’s not too late to pay attention.

29 Things I (Re)Learned In My 29th Year

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Notes to self and lessons from the past 12 months, in no particular order.

1. No one can love you like your mother. No one. I can’t say this enough.

2. ‘Almost perfect for you’ is not perfect for you.

3. Love is underrated. Love is underrated. Love is underrated.

4. I need my space. I’d go crazy if I didn’t have it.

5. Unless you choose to carry it around, the past is largely irrelevant.

6. Celibacy is not so hard. Pretend you’re blind and your body is firewood.

7. There’s no cure for my introversion.

8. I’m not a morning person.

9. We all need one person, just one, who never gives up on us.

10. What people call serendipity is often God’s great work in their lives.

11. You need to find yourself to be relevant.

12. I don’t belong in an office.

13. God is not a magician.

14. Having a poverty mentality is worse than being poor.

15. I can’t spend my life with someone I can’t share music with.

16. Human beings are what’s wrong with the world.

17. The burdens we mock, we cannot bear.

18. I’m someone’s dream, flaws and all.

19. I can always try a little harder, give a little more, smile a little brighter.

20. Wise people ask for help when they need it. Stop struggling alone.

21. Your pride is a defence but it will be the death of you. Plot twist.

22. Loneliness is a gateway drug.

23. Your employer is not your friend. I’ll reiterate that with this.

24. You will get hurt. Don’t let that stop you from opening up to people.

25. Not every time new friends. What have you done for the ones you have?

26. You can’t save anyone by yourself. Let God work through you.

27. Some of the people you look down on are doing better than you are. Stop.

28. You’re always better off than a number of people. Count your blessings.

29. You never really know.

Poetry: What I’ve Done

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I’m no stranger to failure, and I know success well,
Of my victories and losses I am not afraid to tell.
For I am totally human, and Krypton is not my home,
I have learnt that life is not made of joy alone.

I know of broken hearts and unrequited love,
Of hatred, grief and the peace God sends from above.
I have smelt a booming rose and sniffed a homeless man,
They both have a place in His great big plan.

I have visited my past, through the eyes of the needy,
I relived yesterday and for myself was moved to pity.
I remember the piercing cold, the emptiness in my soul,
The longing for a miracle to make my spirit whole.

I’ve heard rumours of war and walked across a field of mines,
I’ve mediated a truce between me and what was mine.
I’ve given up on memories, my history is in the making,
And I’ll rewrite my future with these baby steps I’m taking.

Heaven or Life With You In It

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365 days, lived a second at a time,

The moments pass, without an end.

A hundred ways, a thousand crimes,

A million positions we can’t defend.

 

We fall, always alone, never together,

You rise, inch by inch, by yourself.

Perhaps not, maybe you can do better,

If you lived by the clock on your shelf.

 

But there’s no schedule for mistakes,

No clairvoyance allowed, no warnings.

Life unravels once, no second takes,

The candle cannot reverse its burning.

 

So what if I didn’t have you here,

Would I not be miserable and broken?

Would my life not be measured in tears,

And all those comforts left unspoken?