moments

New Years Eve 2000

I can remember this date quite clearly. We were running around, and for once, my mother hesitated before telling us to mind ourselves as to not disturb the neighbours downstairs. Which I never understood. How could our neighbours even hear all our thudding around with a series of thick layers of wood acting as a barrier between us? I never understood. Not till I was older, of course. But it had always seemed to me that our small, childish feet made steps of a butterfly, not the monstrously loud steps we were actually making. But I digress.

My mum had hesitated to tell us off because she thought we were all going to die. And I was very aware of this fact because I had overheard grown-ups muttering such words over hushed whispers not to be listened to by a child my age. But I had already taken it upon myself to listen to everything these adults said. Even when I wasn’t supposed to. Even when they were whispered over loud music. I listened. Anyway, my dad had hardly hid it from us during the week of the proposed date.

He was sitting in his throne where he had his evening paper acting as a curtain for his face for a while. I’m not sure if he read it there, but he was certainly muttering it to himself in disjointed bouts of English and then Twi.

“Stupid old white people… End of the world?! I wouldn’t put it past them if it was another way to kill all the Africans.”

His crinkled old face had pushed itself hard into a frown. Lips puckered and nose scrunched as if he had smelt something bad, he exclaimed at the notion of death on New Years Day. But the fear on my mothers face as she placed his dinner on his lap had me more than a little bit frightened. She seemed to believe it. But then again, mum believed almost everything. So, I tried not to worry too much.

Plus, I was a child. I was going to heaven whether I liked it or not. Jesus would make certain of it. Or rather, my mum would.

She bathed us in a mixture of oil and holy water every other day till New Years Eve. She would’ve done it everyday, except we didn’t have the money for such a luxury. Dad controlled the money in the house. And dad wasn’t having any of it. Every time dad saw mum doing it, he would scowl and call her stupid. He even gave her a hit or two. But I don’t think mum cared too much. She just got on with it, like any other mother who feared the death of their children would.

There were five of us. I was second to last. My brother was the eldest, then you had my two elder sisters, me and then finally the new born – my little sister, Harmony. She was born in August. I never payed her much attention, much to everyone’s dismay. I think they were hoping for a reaction. But I didn’t give them any. And it wasn’t on purpose or anything, it was just that I couldn’t really care less that she was born. Not in a rude way, it was just that I was quite indifferent to her presence. She hardly woke me up at night, and I was never allowed to hold her because I was too small, so I guess we never really made that instant sisterly connection. I didn’t mind too much. But like I said, the rest did. In my personal opinion, I think they thought I had some type of hidden agenda. Which I didn’t. But, I digress again.

For purpose sake, I’ll name my siblings after the day they were born. You had my brother who was born on Saturday, my eldest sister who was born on Friday, my other sister who was born on Thursday and me who was born on a Wednesday. And then of course, Harmony.

Anyway, as I was saying before, my mum had hesitated but had swiftly told us off. And I can imagine her thinking:

“We may be dying, but we will still respect our neighbours like Jesus told us to.”

She didn’t say it. But she could very well have. It would’ve been granted given the circumstances. Even though my dad was a Muslim and would not have readily tolerated it any other day, I think he was scared as well, so wouldn’t have minded. He called this supposed “dooms day” hocus pocus, but I could see he believed it anytime I looked into his eyes.

And by amount of canned food he had purchased.

Anywho, it was time to sit down in front of the telly to watch the fireworks. Saturday had fixed the satellite really well to make sure there was little interference. My mum had bought crackers for us all. I mean, she bought it for Christmas. But I think she wanted to celebrate our lives a little bit more than she had Jesus’. Plus, Granddad had died on Christmas only two years prior, so she had lost her taste for celebrations on the day her dad died. And I couldn’t blame her. Though, when I was a child, I didn’t ever really understand. I just thought she was being stubborn and “wouldn’t Granddad understand if we had a nice Christmas?” I never said that to her, but I let the thought cross my mind one too many times that holiday.

But what would it matter? We were all scheduled to die this year. So, Christmas’, birthdays, deaths… It all wouldn’t matter. Because we’d all be dead by the time we’d open our eyes come morning.

So, imagine my surprise when I opened up my eyes and found myself alive in my bed. Sleeping alone, on the lower bunk that I shared with my sister, Thursday. I could hear my sisters snoring away and I was smiling in hope just before my smile faltered. I had always been the first one to wake in the real world, so there was a high probability that I would be the first one awake in heaven. So I just had to make sure. I had run to my mum as quickly as possible to see if it was all real.

I had pulled open the heavy door to my room and bolted out of it. Down the corridor I ran and into my parents room. I stopped, stalled by the emptiness of the bed. Harmony was sleeping quietly in her cot but no one was there. My worry started to slowly increase. I jumped onto the bed and turned around on it for a second. I thought about bouncing on it but decided against it. I had already guessed that dad wouldn’t make it into heaven, but where was mum? I jumped off of the bed and sprinted to the kitchen. Empty. The bathroom. Empty. Until I finally reached the living room.

There sitting with her legs hanging gently off the sofa sat my mother. Tears dripping one by one down her shiny brown face, she had turned her blood shot eyes towards me and motioned me towards her.

I wanted to ask her if this was heaven and why Friday and Thursday wasn’t awake yet but I thought to wait a bit. This moment seemed important to her.

So, I crawled into her outstretched arms, careful not to harm any bruises. Her arms wrapped around me and she began to rock me back and forth. She cuddled me to her chest, praying loudly to God. She was smiling but sad.

“God, thank you for giving my children another year. Thank you for keeping my children alive. Thank you for being there for them.” And she continued this way, until finally she closed with “in Jesus name, Amen”. I echoed her and we sat in silence, me and her.

She continued to rock us both, stroking my hair ever so gently. It gave me time to think for a bit. I began to think about her prayer. And how she never referred to herself. How she never once thanked God for her survival. And I thought and thought about it. Because I should’ve realised. As soon as I had saw her crying, I should’ve known it was real.

I turned my head up to hers and kissed her cheek, haunted by her still, timid movements.

Maybe we were supposed to die.

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Mistakes to learn from

It takes courage to own up to mistakes.

We all know this. From the time we are children and have to learn from our faults in behaviour. We have all had the luxury to grow from out mistakes because of the excuse of youth. However, this luxury in admitting our faults lessens somewhat as we grow older. We are judged more harshly as the number of years we have been on this Earth increases. I want to say that this small fact is unfair, however, that would be a lie. It is fair. Especially considering that we have had more time to collect knowledge than, let’s say, a five year old child. But, you can only admit and realise your mistakes as soon as you are honest with yourself.

Learning to be honest with yourself is probably one of the hardest things to do. Now, I understand for some people that this skill comes naturally to them. However, you have to understand for others, that skill is something that needs to be developed. As my History teacher says, anyone can support their points, but to go against it is almost to against their instinct, now that is the hardest part.

And I completely agree. For me, it is instinctive to ignore all the evidence to the contrary that I have made a fault, that I have made a mistake. I’m not talking about those easy faults that everyone makes, like, “oh, shoot, maybe I shouldn’t have spent that much money, damn.” To me, those are easy mistakes to make, simply because they are so easy to learn from. No, I’m talking about those big mistakes. The ones where you cannot laugh it off. The ones where you question the very content of your character and begin to wonder why on Earth you did it. Why? And these mistakes often emotionally (or physically) harm you or someone else.

And that is probably the most hardest part of making a mistake, admitting that you have made one.

Honesty can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, it can be. Telling yourself how wrong you are in any situation is so dangerously hard. But that shouldn’t scare you, because the consequence of such admittance is so beneficial to your development as an adult and in my case, as a teenager.

I don’t know guys, there’s a lot on my mind. And I realise this probably doesn’t make sense, but I’ve decided to post it anyway.

Nakedstreetkid out 😛 x

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Mild Truths and Obvious Beginnings

Recently I discovered a few mild truths that should have been obvious to me but never was. Here are just a few of them:

1) Be selfish. There are very few things that I wouldn’t give up to make people happy. My time I could and would give up in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t care, as long as it helped them. And that is a bad habit. There are times when I must think about myself, remember my needs before anyone else’s. I must remember my worth in this world and realise I am valuable to others in so many ways – not just by helping them. So, yes, be selfish. Find a healthy balance between selfishness and selflessness and you’ll be fine.

2) Intelligence is not fixed. Intelligence is flexible. This is something I forget often because I have spent my life believing that people are born intelligent. That their wealth of knowledge only facilitates their intelligence. They’re amazing because their intelligence is inherent. Which, of course, is not true. Intelligence can be learnt. Just give it a few hours, a few days, a few weeks and you can be intelligent. But, remember, intelligence that is the same can be worn in different ways. It’s your decision how you choose to wear yours.

3) Responsibility is not being a leader, responsibility is knowing what to do and then doing it. To me, responsibility has always meant that I must assume the position of authority. It meant that I had to be an expert in a certain field of knowledge, so that I would be able to adapt to anything that happens. But, I guess, responsibility is recognising what needs to be done and then from there, doing it to a high standard. It’s being independent of an authoritative figure, not assuming their role. For example, if I were to work in a shop and see the bin is overflowing with rubbish, I would take the initiative to empty it. I wouldn’t wait for my manager to come along and tell me such a fact. Because that is my responsibility and no one else’s.

At the end of the day, if I have a goal, I should aim for it. A goal stops being a fantasy when I open my eyes and start being realistic about my path. I should stop questioning my path in general, really. I should stop focusing my heart and soul upon each frivolous moment and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Where do I want to be in the next 5 years? And, why?

Those are the things I should remember. As my brother said:

“Persistence and determination is what gets you there, consistency is what keeps you there.”

Nakedstreetkid out! 🙂

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Trial and Error

I’m really enjoying the idea that my life is in my hands now. Before, I hated it. Who wants to be told that their whole life is reliant on the decisions that they make for themselves. Good, bad, ugly. All of that – it sounds blooming terrifying.

But, I guess if I want to start to make my stamp on society, I’ll have to realise that the consequences can be devastating. That they can cripple my chances to ever progress again. But I also need to know they can be fantastic. Absolutely brilliant. I just have to have the courage to try the things I want to try and not be too scared. I mean, there are consequences to absolutely everything. But, the very worst consequence of not doing is something is regretting not doing something, right?

I’ve been basically thinking to myself that, I’m not university material. But, damn flabbit, I don’t know that yet. I can’t assume that simply because I’m not one hundred percent ready for it. I’m ready enough. I know what I have to do. I just got to get on doing it.

I’m listening to A change is gonna come by Otis Redding.

How ironic.

Nakedstreetkid out 😉

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Something… functional

Calm.

That’s how I feel at the moment. Everything feels manageable. As if I can deal with all the bad that collapses often upon my life. It feels good. It feels okay.

Maybe I’ll ask my best friend what she’s up to today? Maybe I’ll go skateboarding? Or, maybe I’ll take a crack at my homework? Yeah, maybe I’ll do that. What usually happens is that I’m so out of it, so jittery that I can’t concentrate on anything. But, today, I’m okay.

You’d absolutely laugh if you knew what I was listening to right now. I’m basically listening to all the old skool (I spell things weirdly) songs that remind me of good things, I guess. Do you remember I’m like a bird by Nelly Furtado? Never Ever by All Saints?

Love it. Both songs.

I really want to go for a run. A jog, rather.

I don’t know how to express to you how lovely it is to exit the dysfunctional mood I was in throughout the last two weeks. It’s… Amazing, spectacular, beautiful.

I really don’t know what I want to do first. I don’t know how long this feeling of freedom will last. It feels as if I’m free from the problems that weigh heavily upon my shoulders. I don’t want to waste it on something that doesn’t need it in order for it to be done. I don’t want to waste it.

Hopefully it lasts long enough to do everything I want to do.

Fingers crossed.

Nakedstreetkid out 🙂